Sunday, July 7, 2013

Those Damn Mirrors

It's been awhile since my last post. I've been very busy and time seems to get away from me. Although, I haven't blogged in a few weeks, I'm still on this journey. Still moving forward, still making mistakes and still trying again...and again...and again. I've learned a lot and I realize that I will continue making mistakes. It's the trying again part that matters most, right?

The most important thing I've learned about myself from this journey is I get bored very quickly with exercises. I need a variety of exercise classes and routines to keep my interest. Since last year the only cardio exercise I've been doing is swimming because of my plantar fasciitis in both feet, but I've been wanting to do more cardio. I slowly started walking/jogging intervals as a way to "test" my feet, and so far, so good! Since my feet we're doing great, I felt the time was right to return to Zumba.

I have a membership at my local YMCA and they offer Zumba classes. I've taken Zumba before but only one time at the Y, over a year ago. I usually go to a church near my house but the classes at the Y are included in my membership. Why pay double for a Zumba class?!

The class was Wednesday evening at 5:30. I arrived early and sat on the bench right outside of the room. I was very excited to be there! I loved doing Zumba before and I was ready to do it again. I had my water bottle and my coin skirt. I couldn't wait to shake it and get down!! I saw the Zumba instructor walking down the hallway. She was wearing her Zumba pants and a Zumba tank top. She was pulling a suitcase behind her filled with Zumba goodies. My heart skipped a beat and my mind went into overdrive. "We could be the best of friends! We could tag team a class! Two instructors in one class! This could be awesome! I could change my Facebook name to Zumba Granny! The possibilities are endless."

She unlocked the classroom door and all the waiting students filled the room, people laughing and talking. I followed everyone and stopped in my tracks. I could not believe what I was seeing. Mirrors. TONS OF THEM. The classroom had mirror walls. I immediately said; "These damn mirrors." I was turning to leave the room when I heard a voice say; "I know. I hate them too." I spun around and saw a young woman, about my age. She smiled and sat her water down on the table. I stood there, shocked that someone felt the same way I did about the mirrors. Then I realized she wasn't leaving the class. She hates the mirrors too and she's still doing the class. I decided to do the same thing. I sat my water next to hers and I smiled back at her. Even though we didn't speak again, I felt a kindred spirit with her. Perhaps, her struggles are the same as mine. Perhaps, she tries over and over again with her weight loss journey. Perhaps, one day we will be best friends and we can take down the mirrors together! Once again, the possibilities are endless!

The class was amazing and I think I sweated a gallon of water. My hair was soaked and my face was candy apple red - a true sign that I worked my ass off. During the class, I was well aware of the mirrors but I remained focused on the instructor. There was no time to look at myself when I didn't know the dance moves. I had to focus on her! As I left the room, I quickly glanced in the mirrors and said; "You damn mirrors."

As I left the YMCA, I skipped to my car with an idiot grin on my face. I was so happy that I faced a fear, that I didn't run and hide because I was afraid of the freaking mirrors. I also realized that I need to say focused on my journey. I tend to get discouraged when I see other's losing weight and I'm still trying and trying and trying.

I'm not sure if I'll ever be 100% comfortable doing Zumba with mirrors but I know one thing for sure, I'm not giving up. I will stay focused and see this journey to the end with or without those damn mirrors.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Harvest Time

 
 
 
 
This week I had the chance to take a day off from work. And boy did I need it!! I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed in personal life and at work. I needed a day to catch my breath. I needed a day for me.
 
I decided to go to Jaemor Farms. Jaemor Farms is a farm that offers their own fruits and vegetables in season and produce from other local farms and farms around the world. I've been there before but I must admit, I don't go as often as I should. I actually forget that it's there. The great thing about going to the farm is it's open year round and it's a very unique experience.
 
Shopping at Jaemor is different than shopping at Publix, Kroger or Wal-Mart. There are no automatic doors, air conditioning, or bag boys wearing crisp, clean uniforms. There are no sprinkler systems watering the vegetables and mimicking thunderstorms. It's a simple market with simple, real foods.
 
As I walked through the open doors, I was taken back in time to my childhood. My mother used to shop at Whaley's in Tampa. It was similar to Jaemor's, a unique market with local flair. I remember going to Whaley's with my mother and helping her pick butter beans and peas. I can remember thinking that Whaley's wasn't clean. The floor was concrete and there were bees and bugs buzzing around. Little did I know as a child, the produce my mother was buying at Whaley's was better than what we could get at a chain supermarket. It was real food with no pesticides or GMOs.
 
I started making my way through the store and I was overjoyed at what I saw! I must have looked like a fool. I picked up the produce, felt it, put it to my nose to smell it and let out a huge Awwwwwww (with my eyes closed). The tomatoes were bright red, tender and smelled like dirt. The asparagus was firm and stood at attention. The strawberries were deep red, plump and deliciously sweet. I was in food slut heaven! The place where only food sluts go!
 
I continued through the store and passed the homemade breads, fried pies, cakes, ice cream, jams, salsa and dressings. I also found the local dairy section where the local milk and butter rested in a cool refrigerator. I couldn't resist buying strawberry preserves, raspberry jam and REAL butter.
 
As I approached the check out counter, a sense of pride came over me. I was proud that my mother took me to Whaley's as a child and proud that she loved local, real food. I felt proud that I was returning to the ways of my childhood.
 
I also felt a connection with the other shoppers, the workers and the owners. We all want the same thing-access to real food, to know where our food comes from and to support local farmers.
 
As I left Jaemor's, sadness began to set in when I realized I was the youngest shopper there. The majority of the shoppers were elderly and middle aged. There were no mothers with young children. There were no children at all. Maybe it's because it was a Friday and not a weekend. Maybe it was because it was mid afternoon and school wasn't out yet. Maybe it's because people my age and younger don't care for good healthy foods, the community and local farmers. Whatever the reason, it saddens me that there are few Jaemor Farms and multiple chain supermarkets.
 
I got in my car and drove down the long driveway heading to the highway. I was going home with a trunk full of good food and a heart full of memories! I was now refreshed, relaxed and completely content. My day off was well worth it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Butts, Guts and Glory




I thought going to the gym and using the machines would become easier since my training session with Ms. Perfect. Nope. I was a fool to think that. Two days after meeting with Ms. Perfect, I forced myself back to the gym. This was not an easy task. I dreaded returning to the gym the entire day. When I got off work, I drove straight to the Y and I sat in my car. And I sat there….and sat there. Fear started to set in and everything in me, even my gut, told me to run. I don’t even remember how to use the machines!

 
Then, I saw a woman. She was getting out of her car, walking towards the building. She was in her forties and she was extremely overweight, almost obese, but she was going inside the gym.  I quickly got out of my car, grabbed my gym bag and headed her way. If she could do it, so could I!
Once inside the gym, we went our separate ways. I quickly changed clothes and headed to the machine area. I went to the desk where Ms. Perfect was last time and approached the young man. I told him; “I can’t remember how to use all the machines. I only remember how to use the butt blaster because I want a J.Lo butt.” His response was nothing. We stared at each other in complete silence. He slowly walked from behind the desk and over to the butt blaster, without saying one word to me.

 
I followed him to the machine, logged on and began adjusting the weight and settings.  He helped me set it correctly (still in complete silence) and then I started to extend my leg. WOW! I was really feeling it in my butt. In fact, I got so excited that I started grunting and yelled; “J. LO BUTT HERE I COME!!!”


Finally, he spoke! It was a monotone voice, but he spoke! “The little computer tells you what machine to go to next.” And then he went back to his desk and sat down. What a douche bag!
I continued to work out on the 7 remaining machines that were in my circuit. With every machine I was gaining more confidence and (gasp) actually enjoying it! I felt comfortable, strong and sexy! I even started to walk differently, like a pimp with a ton of swag. I know how to handle these machines! I own this place! Who wants to challenge me?! Where’s Ms. Perfect now?!


It’s a shame that confidence didn’t last. After my workout, I went back to the locker room, turned the corner and saw the most perfect butt I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And it was looking right at me, smiling almost. My initial thought was who the hell is this skinny bitch and where is that obese woman?? WHERE IS SHE??? 


I sat on the bench directly across from the naked lady, patiently waiting for her to move so I could get to my locker. I didn’t want to seem odd or strange by just sitting there so I pretended to be stretching from my intense work out. It was the longest stretch of my life! I ran out of stretches to do!! I went to the bathroom, did my business and walked back to the bench and SHE WAS STILL NAKED but this time it wasn’t her butt that was facing me. Now, her perfect boobs were eying me and saying “look at us, look at us!” She stood in front of me completely naked, except now she had shoes on and she was brushing her hair. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??? All I want to do is get to my locker, get my stuff and leave. I was afraid to ask her to move because if I got too close I might lose control, use my new strength and turn into the Incredible Granny and shove her in a locker. I am not kidding.


The naked lady finally got dressed and left. As I was getting my stuff out of my locker, my anger subsided and a sense of pride came over me. I came back to the gym and I conquered it! I faced my fear and it felt damn good.


As I was leaving the gym, I saw the overweight lady on the treadmill. She didn’t notice me or look my way. I stood by the front desk and watched her for a minute or so. I didn’t know her name or her story but I felt a kindred spirit with her. Was she just as scared as me? Did she have insecurities about the gym? Did she dislike Ms. Perfect too? Did she long to have an ass like J.Lo? I will probably never know the answers to those questions, but I hope to see her again one day. Maybe I will see her on the machines, or be next to her on the treadmill, or maybe I will see her in the locker room. Perhaps, the next naked butt I see will be hers; thin, toned and in my face.
 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Road to Success




Someone once told me the road to success has A LOT of no’s. I had forgotten this statement until today. Today, I competed in a speech contest. It was my fourth contest in a row and my biggest one to date. See, my goal is to speak, professionally. I want to be a motivational speaker. It’s the only thing I feel good at, the only thing I feel I was meant to do.
 
 
I did not win today. I didn’t even place in the top three. I know it’s an accomplishment to even make it as far as I did, but I have to admit, I was disappointed. I wanted that darn trophy so bad!! I wanted to hold it, touch it and kiss it. And I really thought winning this speech contest would open more doors for me within the public speaking world.
 
I came home alone and sat on my couch. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to meditate on the contest and wallow in self-pity. Then, I thought about my speech and my message. My speech is entitled My Life Resolution and it’s about my granny panties and being too comfortable in life. It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things and meeting new people. Then I realized that’s what I did today! Even though I didn’t win, I did accomplish some things; I met a lot of new people and I went after a dream. I stepped out of my comfort zone!
 
I continued to sit on my couch for about an hour. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to hang with friends or family, but I didn’t want to be alone either.  So, I decided to strike while the iron was still hot and step out of my comfort zone again. I got in my car and drove to my local YMCA. I went up to the 18 year old girl with the perfect body sitting at the front desk and said; “I don’t know how to work the exercise machines. Can someone show me how to use them?” She replied in her sweet, southern voice; “I can help you. I’m a personal trainer.” Of course you are. You’ve probably never farted either. She continued to explain all the YMCA has to offer with their FitLinxx program. Apparently, I can log all my exercises and activities and win cool stuff. The program also emails me once a month with my progress. This sounds great! Now, show me how to use the freaking machines so I can get outta here!
 
I hate gyms. I only joined the Y to use the pool because it was the only exercise allowed by my physical therapist due to my plantar fasciitis. Every night, I would pass the machines on my way to the locker room. Occasionally, I would glance to see what kind of people were on the machines; thin, fat, beautiful or ugly. They were always just normal people but I was too intimidated to even try. I was so scared to look like a fool and try something new. In fact, one time I did try the treadmill, but I couldn’t get it to work so I got off the machine, left the gym and went home. I was there a total of 5 minutes.
 
Before Ms. Perfect introduced me to all the machines, she took my information. Height: 5’8, Weight: 195 and Body fat: 36.2%. Ugh..Do you know how hard it was to sit there as she evaluated my body? I wanted to hit her in the face and feed her Twinkies until she exploded, but then I realized that it was Easter weekend and that wouldn’t be nice.
 
 
I followed her around to every machine and watched as she demonstrated how to properly use them. When it was my turn to try the machines, I upped the weight. I’ll be damned if a skinny, 18 year old is gonna out do me in weights! Hell to the no! I’ll show her this 35 year old, granny panty wearing woman can lift more weight than she can!
 
 
I was with Ms. Perfect for about an hour and towards the end of our session, I realized what I had accomplished; I was actually working out on the machines. Not only can I do my cardio but I’ll be doing strength training as well! This is a huge step for me. I was afraid to ask someone for help, afraid of trying something new and afraid of failing.
 
 
As I drove home, I remembered what that person told me; the road to success has a lot of no’s. I may hit some road blocks and speed bumps on the way. I may mess up and fail. But I will continue on MY road. I will continue my weight loss journey and I will continue stepping out of my comfort zone. When I think about, there is no other road I’d rather be on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Powerless


I’ve been a bad, bad girl. I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. When I started this health journey in January, I promised to weigh myself weekly on Sundays. I was faithful for awhile but lately I’ve been avoiding the scale. Why? Because I suck!! I have ZERO willpower when it comes to cakes, cookies, pies, and cobblers. Basically, anything with sugar I want to eat it and I want to eat a lot of it.

I decided to weigh myself tonight. I can honestly say I wasn’t surprised that I’m almost back to my starting weight. I’m not stupid. I know if I eat crap, I will not lose weight. I know if I don’t work out, I won’t lose the weight. So, the big question is why do I do it? Why can’t I stay away from the sugar?? I want to be healthy and I need to lose 50 pounds (per my doctor), but I can’t resist the sugar.

I’m really disappointed in myself. I feel like I’m letting myself down once again. I feel like I have no control over my cravings and I don’t like feeling this way. It makes me question my abilities, my self-esteem and self-worth. I feel completely powerless.

Powerless – lacking the ability or capacity to act. Ok, I’m lacking the ability to resist temptations of sugary foods. When I read it out loud, it sounds simple, almost elementary. In fact, I just said; “You can do this, Charissa.” But can I really? I’ve tried so many times before and I’ve always failed. I’m tired of failing, tired of feeling powerless and tired of trying...


Sunday, February 24, 2013

I can't get no satisfaction!



I can't get no satisfaction,
I can't get no satisfaction.
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can't get no, I can't get no.

 
Wednesday was a no satisfaction day.  I was overwhelmed with work and very stressed. I couldn’t focus and I had no game plan for the cases I was working on and the cases I needed to be working on.

I found myself wanting a Coke desperately and I haven’t had one in 6 weeks.

I felt the attraction to the coke machine like a cheetah panting after a gazelle in Africa. All I wanted to do was put my fifty cents in the machine, get my coke and go to the handicap bathroom (because it’s quiet and roomy) and drink the coke, SLOWLY, savoring each and every sip. But my cravings didn’t stop with liquid crack. When a friend at lunch offered me a taco from Taco Bell, I immediately snatched it. I didn’t even think about it. I wasn’t even hungry at that time. I just finished eating my eggplant pizzas but I wasn’t satisfied. And then I wanted the German Chocolate cake that was sitting on the table and the Tres Leches cake in the fridge. This. Was. Torture.

I finally left the break room without a coke or a piece of cake and went back to my cubicle. I sat at my desk ashamed of my food slut ways. I was also confused and mad. Why did I eat that Taco? Why can’t I control my eating more? Why do I turn to food when I’m stressed at work? Why can’t I have a coke and a piece of cake?
 I left work and drove to church for my Wednesday night Bible study. Driving to church was just as stressful as my work day. I was irritated that nothing was going my way. I couldn’t eat what I wanted and stupid drivers would not get off the road. I was about to explode!
 I finally arrived at church early, went to the usual room we met in and realized we had been moved to another room! UGH!!!!
Take a deep breath, Charissa. Breathe…
  I was finally in the correct room and I was finally alone. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I sat there in perfect silence thinking about my horrible day. And then I saw it – something that always gave me peace. Something I should have turned to earlier in the day. The cross. There was a cross outside the window on top of a steeple. As I looked at the cross, I finally felt satisfaction. I was in peace! There were no inner struggles, no guilt of my food choices of the day, no negative thoughts towards myself. Thoughts of mercy and grace filled my mind and heart. My Savior has granted me much mercy every day and they are new every morning. I was reminded that I need to grant myself mercy during my journey to health. This isn’t going to be easy for me. I will mess up. I will make mistakes. However, tomorrow is a new day with new mercy and new opportunities.
Wednesday started out to be a day with no satisfaction but it ended differently. I left church feeling loved, beautiful and completely satisfied.


Monday, February 18, 2013

A pin up session is the best medicine!


For the past few years, I have wanted to do the pin up photo session at Celestial Studios. But, every year, I always talked myself out of doing it. I’ve never really felt comfortable with my weight to be in a pin up photo.

 
When I started my journey to become healthier and lose weight, a friend suggested I take before and after pictures. I decided to contact Fox at Celestial Studios immediately before I lost my nerve. Contacting her was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! The afternoon I spent with Fox at her studio was incredible.

 
I’ve never felt more beautiful, confident, sexy and liberated in my entire life. For the first time, my weight wasn’t an issue. I was beautiful regardless of the number on the scale. I was confident regardless of my dress size. And, I was sexy regardless of the angle of the camera. 

 
After the session was over, I went home and continued taking pin up photos with my own camera. Several hours later, the clothes and make-up were removed but my renewed spirit remained. To this day, I still feel liberated, secure and more like myself than ever before. I am proud to show the photos of my session. I am proud to display me – ALL of me, including my granny panties!