I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Sweetly Sucking

I apologize if the title offends your sensibilities, but what is going to follow isn’t dirty. Unless you are the type to think that a sorry run is dirty. Then this is definitely NSFW.

I told y’all yesterday that I was going to run today. I had a conference session to attend at 7 am (okay fine, the session was breakfast, but it IS the most important meal session of the day) and would have had to be hitting the pavement by 5 to make it, in the dark, in an unfamiliar area. Nope. I bid my running shoes farewell until 6 PM.

As I was lacing up, I was tempering my expectations for the following reasons:

A. I am typically a morning runner on fresh feet.

B. The weather is starting to warm-up.

C. PMS is definitely not an acronym for Peak Maximum Speed.

I had run the same “day” on my app 10 days ago. I figured it wouldn’t be as good for the above listed reasons. Lemme tell you something. I was right. Damn right. My pace kept slowing, and slowing, and sloooowwwing. I checked my watch and you know how it goes. When you end up looking down and only one minute has passed since you last checked? Tough day.

A tough day is not a bad day! I showed up. I didn’t quit, even though I passed my hotel room with 20 minutes to go. I did take a walk break of about 30 seconds but I dug deep and ran faster when my app calmly asked. I stretched like a champ afterward.

Loving the journey, even when it sucks, is sweet!

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It’s Saturday and I skipped my weigh-in. First skip of 2018. Rut roh.

I was recently having a venting fest with a good friend and she was lamenting that it was difficult for her to get motivated to take healthful steps in her life. I opined that I think momentum often brings about motivation and not the reverse and am currently experiencing that phenomenon myself. You know whose fault it is? My Grandma. And husband. And the school district.

1. Grandma’s birthday party

Cake.

2. Wedding anniversary

Meat.

3. Spring Break

I suppose that the term “Spring Break” isn’t short for “Spring Break from your meal plan” but it may as well be, amirite?

Understanding the problem here is key, y’all –

There. Is. No. Problem.

It is tempting to view these things as interruptions, but all of them are wonderful. Celebrating my Grandma’s long life (and may God bless her with many more!), my short (thus far) marriage, and an entirely too short break from y’alls children are all blessings. However, with the break in my routine has come a break in my momentum. Without the momentum, it is difficult to adjust my vision to see all the good things happening, and thus I become unmotivated. Even after only a week, getting back into my groove feels like a heavy lift.

I am proud of myself. I ran yesterday and have a work out planned for today. I’m at a conference and I have brought meals with me. I promise to report my weight next Saturday because I want to monitor my progress wholly. I don’t expect any loss until the end of the month because of where I am in my cycle, but I am determined to love myself and celebrate making good choices for my body.

My not always steady beat is groovy again. Thanks be to God.

Part of my job description includes recording grades for students. I must say – love to assess, hate to record. It’s just a mark of progress at a point in time and doesn’t define a person’s ability. I hate to think that I have students who see grades less than an A and think to themselves, “Meh, music isn’t for me.” That’s not even taking their parents into consideration, who may see grades and start to close doors for their children. Ugh.

My disdain for recording applies to my personal life as well. While I understand that stepping on the scale doesn’t define me, I find that I, too, am tempted to think, “Meh, healthful living isn’t for me.” Nevertheless, she is persisting…

I shall proceed to grade myself in 3 parts, like I do my students – the strict assessment based on data, a comment on my progress, and a citizenship grade.

1. Grade: A

I have lost 18 pounds in 9 weeks. I have done so with the help of portion controlled meals. My running feels much easier than it did and my clothes are fitting more comfortably. It is difficult to argue with such obvious results.

2. Comments

My attitude is heavily dependent on my perception of my progress. Going from 175 pounds to 172 pounds means I had a wonderful week. Staying at 172 means I had a terrible week and I do not look forward to assessing my progress in the same way. I hate that the 172 pound person is attractive in the mirror only if I am making weight loss progress. While it is positive that my self-perception isn’t based on a particular number, progress is not linear and such extreme fluctuations in how I see myself can’t be healthy.

3. Citizenship: Satisfactory

I can be that person who will bring down the room if I don’t feel I am doing well. This week, for instance, since I didn’t lose any weight I have not been putting in the same effort with my exercise and eating – despite having an amazing race just 10 days ago. It is quite a challenge to be a good citizen with such a myopic perspective.

The capstone of next quarter will be another 5k, in which I hope to be 12 pounds lighter and be considerably more flexible. I wish I knew how to detach my perception from however my week went. Hopefully I will have better comments for next time!

Yesterday rocked.

I was accompanied by Mom and Dad. Mom was racing too and cussing me the whole way to the start line. “Why am I up? It’s cold. I should be sleeping. This is crazy.” It was actually a bit colder than I was expecting, but it was supposed to be ideal by the time the race started. We got our packets, used the lovely portable toilets, I ate my pre-race navel and lined up at the starting line.

My playlist was set. 31:30. Too ambitious? Maybe. I was just feeling so optimistic! Garmin was on, but I didn’t want to stress myself out by staring at my watch, so I told myself I would turn it on but I would not look at it during the race. I wanted to see where my training had put me in my natural state – pushing, yes, but not killing myself. The hype man started the countdown from 10, and then the horn sounded. Tears came to my eyes once more. What is more beautiful than a chance to start again? I swallowed and made my way to the timing mat.

Two songs into my playlist, I saw the 1st mile marker. My body was feeling good. I pointed to the sky and asked for help for the next 2.1. I made another turn on this familiar Orlando course and saw a sign on a church. “Jesus Loves You,” it read in neon lights. I smiled as I continued running past the first water stop. I hadn’t been drinking water during any of my training runs and didn’t want to lose any momentum. Three more songs pass, as does the 2nd mile marker. I had done an amazing job on my playlist – the words and beat were helping me push forward. I saw a lady from Venezuela whose shirt read “God is with you” on its back – incidentally, near another water stop. Living Water, heh. “Gracias por tu camisa!” I yelled, thanking her for her shirt.

Two songs to go. Two turns to go. I am doing it. I was so happy to be running and feeling strong. One song to go. One turn to go. Final turn made. Finish line in sight. Aaaaand the first song comes on again. Blast you, point 1. I chuckled and found another gear as I crossed the finish line.

Mom had told me to come back for her, which I did, after I brought a snack to Dad, of course. I caught her on the home stretch. “Ready to run to the finish?!” “I will – at the stop sign.” That’s my Mom, ever the rebel. Gonna hit the gas at the stop sign. We went for it as I ducked to the left of the timing mats. I met with her on the other side of the chute. “Where are the race results?” said the woman who had been complaining to me all morning.

I had shaved 00:02:10 off my 5k time from November and Mom was a minute faster than a month ago! I was most pleased because my pace had been incredibly steady – each of my miles was within 20 seconds of the other. Boom. Mom commented that I looked like I just had had a facial. Nope. This is the glow that can only come from the happiest place on earth. A place of sweat, faith, strength, and growth. I want to stay here as long as I can. ❤️

I have a 5k tomorrow! While I am confident I can complete the distance, I don’t know how I will feel while doing it or how my time will be.

This feeling is absolutely exhilarating.

2018 has been a year to reset thus far. I am humbled to have been able to find a rhythm with work and working out by using a meal planning service. I am finally making visible progress with my trainer and working out on my own in the mornings again. I know that this could change at any time, but while I have this I know it is something to be cherished. I started Couch to 5k again and completed 7 of the 8 weeks, and have only ‘come up short’ because my trainer suggested that I rest my ankle this week because I will not really progress prior to the race.

I am most happy because this year feels very much like the beginning of my running journey in 2013. At the time, I started with a pair of old sneakers in my closet and nothing but my app – no Garmin, no fancy shoes fitted for my running gait – I was just a girl who only ran after ice cream trucks and away from large dogs trying to lose weight. I have worked hard to simply do my best and not obsess over beating previous times and/or intervals, and am blessed to report that upon looking at the data, I appear to be improving without driving myself nuts.

I love that the anticipation of each training run has inspired both excitement and apprehension. The ability to put one foot in front of the other is a gift to be celebrated. Only the Lord knows how much longer I will have not just the ability to run, but to improve. I want so much to be a good steward of my blessings.

God built us to move forward, both literally and spiritually toward Him. The last 32.5 years have been a bit of a zig zag pattern for me, but tomorrow, I get to lace up and enjoy another new beginning, and Lord willing, another triumphant finish.

My Epiphany

One of my favorite things about joining the House of Adonis has been exploring Orthodoxy. I’ve enjoyed getting to know aspects of the Christian faith that aren’t typically emphasized in the Protestant tradition. Lol @ that oxymoron – Protestant tradition! I did that for you, Adonis. I had the most relaxing Christmas I have had in a long time, partly enabled by this devotional. I had never made the connection that the 12 days of Christmas are the time between Christmas and Epiphany. I guess for the past 32 years I’ve just been rocking out, figuring that the composer/lyricist thought that 12 was a good number to have. Heh. Anyway, it was an incredible relief to be reminded that Christmas is just the beginning of the celebration of Christ’s birth and not this incredible let down it has become in the world – party’s over, decorations down, family leaves. We’re doing it wrong, y’all. 

I was planning on doing something else wrong until my epiphany. Four years ago, I realized that the pursuit of a healthy weight is ongoing, but here I am again for the FOURTH time, despite all I discovered. I had been envisioning reaching a healthy weight again but completely denying it to anyone who asked. “Hey Joan, are you losing weight?” “No, but thanks!” It would be an effort to deny the fact that I messed up in the first place. It is embarrassing to me that I am here again. I can’t seem to get it together permanently. 

I had written that last time needed to be different than the other two times, and at first, I was mad because it seems like it wasn’t. After all, I gained weight in the same pattern – adjusting to a life transition. 1. College. 2. Grad School. 3. Full time work. Now 4. Marriage. The pattern may be the same but my wisdom is really different. I know I am not doing this because I hate how I look. I am doing this because I want my best life, and I can’t have my best life at an unhealthy weight. I have accepted that this may happen again, but each day I need to make good decisions for the body with which God has graced me. 

So, to anyone who asks – that’s right. I’m human and and I’m sexy and strong and wonderful RIGHT. NOW. Here’s to the blood work to match, sooner rather than later! 

Not gonna lie. “Gripping and intense” is how I feel waiting for my results. Gulp.

Sweet and Savory

Have I mentioned that I like food? 

I understand that there are many ways to abuse food, whether it’s eating emotionally, mindlessly, or purely in excess. I must say, however, that I (most likely wrongly) feel that it must be easier for some people than others to resist poor food choices. I remember my umbrage 40 pounds ago when it was suggested that I must not like certain food in order to look the way I did at the time. Hell no! I do think it is possible that some people are not interested in exploring many different types of food, or their eating is not particularly culturally significant to them. That being said, a steak and potatoes lover has her fair share of temptation to resist as does this sweet potato pie/jerk chicken/spanakopita loving girl. My food temptation portfolio is diverse – and growing. That’s all I’m saying here.

What’s funny is that my taste for different foods didn’t really begin developing until my first round of weight loss, when I started cooking different things. My weight roller coaster has been one long food tour, and I’ve loved it. No tour would be complete without pictures, right? A cursory glance through my desktop or phone would produce highlights of the tour – food and me, naturally. 

The pictures of food and the pictures of me share a lot. There are many types of food. There are also many types of Joan. Skinny, fat, toned, everywhere in between. You know what I am finally deciding every picture is? DELICIOUS. Dammit, the food is fabulous, and I am, too, regardless of my size. I am tired of putting off buying clothes for myself because I don’t deserve clothes at whatever size or I shouldn’t be a particular weight. Don’t get it twisted, y’all – I fully understand that I shouldn’t be trying to make my BMI match my age. That no longer means that I have to beat myself up at any given time for not being where is best for me. The best for me is healthy, from the inside out. And look at this ‘out’ – 

New Year’s Eve with Adonis


Adonis is lucky as hell to come home to this. Okay, fine, I am fortunate as well, but this ain’t his blog. I am choosing to savor where I am at this very moment and simultaneously choosing to do better. 

That, truly – is sweet. 

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