Sunday, August 10, 2014


When I was interviewing for jobs last year, when asked what my biggest weakness is I told them it was stubbornness.  I say how I am stubborn to a fault, but that it's also an asset because it means when I put my mind to something, I figure it out.  It also means that I fight for what my students need and don't give up.

And this is true, in the work setting.

But, I think my biggest weakness is that I refuse to forgive myself.  I have been reading teaching blogs all week and combing pinterest (professional development hours anyone?) and finding all sorts of things that I would love to do in my classroom.  I'm thinking of ways to incorporate new practices into my room and how to modify activities to meet my students - how to jazz up a 1st grade lesson for 5th graders, or modify a 5th grade lesson for my kiddos who only read independently on a 1st grade level.  And I had this moment where I was thinking about my classroom and what I want to accomplish this year (really working on good language arts centers and effective social skills instruction) and what I want to save for next year (organizing binders of curriculum that is effective for different skills and making sense of the vast amounts of resources in my room) where I realized, I will never be happy with what I get accomplished in the classroom.  There will always be something I think I should have done differently.  A way I could have reached a student better or communicated with another teacher better.  I could have taken better data or been more engaged in a lesson I wasn't feeling that day.  I will never be happy with what I have accomplished.

But here's the thing - this attitude isn't just reserved for teaching.  I am struggling to find it in myself to forgive myself for what I have done in the past.  I sit and think about what I could have done differently the last few years of my life so that I wouldn't be here, 100+ pounds overweight and out of shape with horrible eating habits.

I have started reading and following Chris Powell's carb cycling plan - it's what he uses with his clients during his Extreme Makeover transformations and the things he writes about really impacted me.  I have always respected how he approaches clients on his show and his books are no different.  One of the things he talks a lot about is transformation and not weight loss.  And I've seen multiple people who he has worked with say that the weight loss was the least significant part of their entire year.  That transforming their life was more important.  The relationships they gained and the experiences they had were more important.

So I am trying to let go and move forward.  I am trying to forgive myself for what happened in the past.  I was doing the best I could with what I had.  While reflecting on the lifestyle choices that got me to where I am, I became angry at myself for the habits I developed of getting something quick and easy for dinner Friday nights after work (ordering pizza, picking up take out, etc.).  I'd also always get something easy unhealthy to make on the weekends for breakfast.  But I didn't develop this habit out of laziness or the desire to put crap into my body and gain weight.  No.  I developed this habit because by the time I got done with surviving my week on Friday, it was all I could do to drive home.  There were times before being teamed up with Owen, where I would get home Friday and stay on the couch all weekend, not leaving my apartment again until Monday morning.  It wasn't because I was deliberately trying to ruin my life, it was because it was all I could do to survive the week with a disability before crashing on the weekends.  And I have to forgive myself for that.  I was able to survive and grow into the person I am today.  A person who advocates for herself and gets put on the appropriate medications (hello prescription NSAIDs everyday and anti-depressants, life is gooooood).  A person who works out at the gym 3 times a week, not to lose weight, but instead to build strength and muscle mass (which of course will help me lose weight).  A person who is trying to eat the right things in the right amounts at the right times, and does not feel guilty about having a reward on the weekends (chocolate cupcake!).

Once I realized this, that I was hating myself for something that was out of my control, I have been able to move on.  When I slip up, I just shake it off and move forward.  I'm not going to bash myself any longer for things that happened years ago that I can't do anything about now.

I am transforming my mind so that my body will follow.

Monday, March 17, 2014

21 day challenge!

I could start this post by explaining my multiple-month-hiatus.  I could tell you about the various ways I have tried to stay healthy while working.  I could tell you about the siren call of Tex-Mex and queso.  I could tell you how I started working out at Koko Fit Club about 6 weeks ago (badly injured myself, quit working out, and then started again).  But instead, I will simply tell you this.

Today, I had my consult at My Fit Foods (not sponsoring this post or endeavor by the way - unfortunately...) about starting their 21 day challenge.

For 21 days (starting Wednesday), I will eat only their prepared meals which my nutritionist has chosen for me.  I will give up alcohol (gasp!) and coffee (GASP!!).  Alcohol because it's empty calories (and with my mug glass-of-wine-a-day after school habit I've noticed my weight creeping up), and coffee because...  well, because they told me to.

And they told me if I follow their plan I can lose 15 pounds in 21 days.  Seems like a fair trade... for now.

(They actually have an explanation about coffee because caffeine increases cortisol which, when combined with high blood sugar - which we know I have a problem with - causes your body to slow it's metabolism and store fat instead of burn calories.)

They promised I could add coffee back in at the end of this challenge.  In the meantime, I can have green tea, as much as I like.  I've already prepped my coffee tea mug tomorrow morning with two green tea bags, I'll need as much punch as I can get in the morning.

I will also be drinking a detox of unsweetened cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and liquid B-12 (more energy!) every morning to help detox my liver, help with hydration, and help burn fat.  We'll see how it tastes, but if it burns fat, I'm all in!

The MFF meals are really quite good.  They're fresh, meaning I'll be picking up my food at their store twice a week because they use no preservatives (which is good, because I think I'm allergic to common preservatives used).  They use the glycemic index to plan meals, and stress the importance of multiple small meals throughout the day, instead of fewer but larger meals.

What impressed me the most though, was the store's willingness to work with my meager budget to do this.  Instead of purchasing 3 meals plus 2 snacks from the store for each day, I will be purchasing 3 meals from them.  I will be getting the small meal sizes (with 3 oz of protein) because they are the cheapest.  I am going to be supplementing their meals with 2-3 snacks a day; chobani greek yogurt, trail mix (that I made and measured out; 2oz of a almond, cashew, and dried cranberry mix), and apples with peanut butter.  I actually got both peanut and honey-almond butter (Justin's) at the store today and tried both with my granny smith apples.  It wasn't the dessert I was used to, but I think the sweet treat at the end of the day with the healthy fats will help me feel like it's actually a treat.  I'm going to save trail mix for the morning when I'm teaching (it will be quick and easy to eat on the go) and then I'm freezing chobani so that it thaws by the end of the day when I can eat another snack.

I'm very optimistic about this endeavor; I plan to follow their plan exactly, and I am trusting in my nutritionist (who will be calling me and checking in) to help me out.

Even though I'm eating the MFF meals now (I bought some this weekend instead of grocery shopping), I will be officially starting the 21 day challenge on Wednesday (though I will be following all the guidelines/meals tomorrow as well).  I'll post Wednesday with an official start weight, and keep everybody updated on how I'm doing!