Progress Story

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I really hate this photo, but it’s the only evidence of what I looked like 10 months ago.

That’s me at the start of the year. I was fresh off of a life-changing move, in the habit of drinking nightly, and I ate whatever I wanted.

Those weren’t things I wanted, though.
I just wanted to feel happy. I wanted to find a way to get over relocating from the only place I had called home for the past 25 years to a place where I had no friends and no real history.
I wanted my t-shirts to fit again. I wanted to be able to stop alternating the same two pairs of pants because nothing else would zip up. I wanted to look in the mirror and like myself again.
So, I took some chances. I decided to stop playing around with pole fitness and make it my real hobby. I decided to stop cheering and clapping for others who were making transformations and step out and make one for myself.
With the help of the 21 Day Fix, Focus T25, my pole fitness mentor, and my coach, I grew stronger. I gained stamina. I reshaped my body.
I started to love what I saw in the mirror so much that I decided to get serious about helping others find the same change I had. And somewhere along the way between May and October, I lost track of just how I was doing.
I was waking up and working out and making good choices for the most part, but I stopped tracking my own progress. I just stopped paying attention, believe it or not.
…until I stepped on the scale last week and read 147. Then, I went to the doctor four days later and the scale said 144. Yesterday, it said 144 too. I haven’t weighed in at anywhere from 143-147 since before my daughter was born. I’ve also lost a total of 15 inches overall, with 8.5 coming off of my waist, 6.5 coming off my hips.
In other words – I haven’t been this weight and size since 2012.
My transformation story isn’t one of huge loss – I help people all the time who are very overweight and their progress lights a fire in me. I’ve never had more than 15lbs to lose at a time, though, so a shocking physical transformation isn’t something you’ll get from me.
My transformation includes a lot of other great things, though…
Like the strength to do pole climbs, pole sits, elbow stands, dismounts, one-handed spins, and pole ups (kind of like push ups, but gripping a pole instead of on the ground). I can keep up with Shaun T during a live workout whereas 6 months ago, I couldn’t even attempt his home workouts. I know what foods to eat to keep myself full and not add unnecessary calories to my day. I can lift my daughter, who is a toddler weighing in at 44lbs, with one arm. I struggled to carry her with two hands when she was an infant.
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Gemini.

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I looked away just long enough to forget about my own progress, but I’ve technically reached my “goal”! Now to see what else I can change…

Sorry, not sorry!

Burlesque dancer and model Dita von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

This quote didn’t resonate with me until about three months ago. As much as I have accomplished, I’m still guilty of allowing others to define me with their words and actions. Especially given the world of change that’s happened in my life over the last year, it seems like no matter what choices I make, what words I say, what I do, there is always someone out there who has a problem with it. But that’s really okay…

I’ve never been popular or in with the “cool” crowd. Growing up, I was a nerd (Oh who am I kidding? I’m STILL a nerd!). I joined a sorority in college only to leave a year later because I didn’t get along with any of my “sisters.” I’m also an only child, so being the odd one out really isn’t anything new to me. Something else that isn’t new is the concept that other people will use your actions or words as a scapegoat for what they decide to do, say, or think. I’m only just now, at 31 years of age, becoming intimately acquainted with this phenomenon.

I can’t explain the motives of others. I don’t know why people think what they think or say what they say. I only know what I’m doing, or saying, or feeling. Just as well, what I do and say seems to really irk folks at times and I get the sense that there are people out there who feel that I should be ashamed, be more tactful, that I should tone it down, or that I should say sorry.

The purpose of this blog post is to explain that I am indeed, unyieldingly not sorry.

Nope.

I’m not sorry that I moved away and found a new life for myself with my husband, my daughter, my mother, and my father.

I’m not sorry that I made new friends.

I’m not sorry that I decided to buy a Groupon to a pole studio here in town and then fell in love with the art. I’m not sorry for wearing short shorts and a sports bra. I’m not sorry for posting videos of myself pole dancing in my house.

I’m not sorry for working out and taking care of myself. I’m not sorry for posting videos or selfies of it. I’m not sorry about becoming a Beachbody coach. I’m not sorry about asking people to join me on my fitness journey.

I’m not sorry for embracing my faith and telling others about it. I’m not sorry for choosing to put God first and telling others about it. I’m not sorry for carrying my devotional book in my purse each day so that I can pull it out and get some spiritual rejuvenation in a world overflowing with assholes.

I’m not sorry for being a work at home mom and proud of it.

I’m not sorry that a year after moving away I don’t want to go back to San Diego.

I’m not sorry for having dreams and believing in them.

I’m not sorry for not being your picture of a perfect mom.

I’m not sorry for being proud of my 4.0 in school.

I’m not sorry for enjoying cooking and sharing that love with others through recipes and videos.

I’m not sorry about being candid at times about my marriage and the rocky places it’s been in the last 18 months.

I’m not sorry for waiting until my marriage was fixed to consider having a second child.

I’m not sorry for calling myself a professor. I am one. Can’t be sorry about the truth!

I’m not sorry that I believe that what’s my business isn’t anybody else’s unless I make it so.

I’m not sorry for calling people out who are disrespectful to my family and friends.

I’m not sorry about the friends I lost in the move. They were fraudulent people anyway.

I’m not sorry for not caring about cable television.

I’m not sorry for being me. No really, I’m not.

If you’re waiting for some sort of apology…you’ll be waiting a while. I hope you’ve got Netflix!

#NotSorry

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Kthxbye!

“You make this look so easy…”

I don’t like to talk on the phone, but today I got to connect on the phone with a really close friend of mine who is a lot like my little sister. She updated me on how life’s been since we last spoke, and when I explained to her how things were on my end she asked, “How do you do all of this? I have a hard time handling my own responsibilities, but you do so much more.”

It’s the echo of what many people have asked and said to me in the past seven months, and as I near the anniversary of my departure from California, I see clear evidence now of just how much my life has changed since I left there. I will always have a California soul right down to my core, but I’ve grown a lot since August 25, 2014.

I do manage a lot. As a wife, it’s my job to stay on board with my husband with regard to finances, parenting, caring for our pets, caring for our home, etc. As a mom who works from home, I juggle my responsibilities to work with the joyful obligations I have to my daughter and her well-being. I’m also a coach and fitness motivator through Beachbody as well as a full time MBA student, so I study, I connect with people, I work with my growing team of coaches, I hold myself accountable, and I work hard every day to boost my business. I also try to make time to do the things that really keep me going such as keeping God first, exercising, dancing, making music, and even being all around lazy on the couch or in bed with Netflix. I maintain this lifestyle and I love the life that I have, but it’s not easy…

difficulteasy

When you’re a new business owner, everything falls on you. Vacation time? Sure! You can take as much time off as you want, but don’t get mad when your profits reflect the lack of effort you’ve put into your work.

Sleeping in? Pretty much a luxury at this point as your child will likely be up around 7:30 or 8am, and I’ve learned as a parent that it’s just easier to wake up before your kids do.

I work a lot. From the time that I wake, until I fall into bed to zone out to The Boondocks or American Dad at night, I work. It’s often a 10-12 hour day, despite my attempts to keep office hours, because even when I’m not “open for business,” I’m still doing business stuff like posting grades or setting up challenge groups. I’ve forced myself to embrace being a morning person so that I can get more done. I don’t leave the house, but I put in hours just like any commuting, office chair occupying, conventional employee at a typical firm.

My jobs pay me back in much more than just paychecks or benefits. It’s a balance, but I like that I can rock a sleeping toddler in my arms and also read over student work. I like that I can set up shop in the living room as Kennedy plays with blocks not even a foot away from me. It makes me happy that I can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my family on days Fabian has off. My very full life also has very positive perks, and for that I am so grateful.

I get to make some more room on my plate come February, as school will be over for me then. Until that date, I’m just going to keep going. It may look like it’s a breeze, but I promise it’s not. What it is, though, is a very full, very fulfilling and blessed life.

College Isn’t for Everyone…

Right off the bat this blog post likely seems to negate everything that my professional life is about. I am a professor, I am currently in school for my second master’s degree, and I will one day go ahead and get my PhD, as well. However, it’s because of this extensive experience in the classroom, both as a student and as an educator, that I have arrived at this conclusion. We have people flocking to schools everywhere thinking that their money problems can be solved with a degree, and they’re graduating with debts that their entry level jobs will not allow them to pay. While a college education is fruitful for some, many (I’m one of these people), it is not the solution for everyone.

College isn't the only way. Yeah, I'm a professor telling you that.

College isn’t the only way. Yeah, I’m a professor telling you that.

At a time when employment is so fickle and education debts are only rising, I encourage all young folks to turn to innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional independence as a solution instead. Some of the greatest contributions to our world came from people who were in their 20s – Michael Dell started up a PC repair service while attending the University of Texas at Austin, which subsequently morphed into the PC direct business we now know as Dell computers. Steve Jobs began innovating Macintosh computers with the graphical user interface when he was in his 20s. The number three coach of Beachbody is a woman named Amy Silverman, and she’s 28 years old. Need I say more?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to think of income and earnings in ways that are not linear; trading time for money is not the only way to make money. You can build a business through networking that pays you back in dividends beyond the work you put in to set it up. You can leverage the power of advertisement through an engaging and unique website or Youtube channel that offers value to viewers and patrons. You can go into business for yourself and set your own rules…you don’t have to be a line item on the agenda of the corporate world. You can write the agenda.

Why?

My upline coach and Beachbody mentor Laurel has been after me since I joined the team to really get down to the true reason for why fitness and nutrition are so important to me. She keeps pushing me to step outside of my comfort zone and show who I truly am, so I’m going to do my best.

Not every fitness story involves the loss of weight – Some involve the loss of a loved one.

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It’s March 25th, and this is normally a time of year when I am somber, miserable, weepy, and heartbroken. The reason why is because on March 29, 1991, my world was forever turned upside down when my mom’s mom, my beloved grandma, a woman who sat at the center of my 5 ½ year old universe, died. She contracted pneumonia and fluid filled her lungs. She left behind seven children and one grandchild. She was 57 years old. She was morbidly obese.

Try as I might, I cannot ever let go of the pain I connect to this time of year. We lost her over 20 years ago, but in many ways, it feels as if it was only yesterday. Perhaps that’s because I had to live with the aftermath of her passing. In the wake of her death, my grandfather, her widower, slipped into a depression. My mother, her only daughter, battled her own grief and frustration as she tried to find a way to still be a mom, wife, sister, and daughter to her remaining family members while also losing her best friend. There aren’t many women on my mom’s side of the family, so losing our matriarch was harrowing. I became forever scarred at a young age from her passing. It was a lot for my 5 ½ year old soul to carry.

It still is.

I celebrate her life as much as I can. There are photos of she and my grandfather on their wedding day hanging in my living room, and each September my mother and I commemorate her birthday together. However, I also carry an animosity, not towards her necessarily, but definitely towards her mindset. My grandmother made it her life to take care of others. She was an excellent mother to all eight of her kids. I don’t know how she did it, because I have my hands full with just my own daughter. She was a God-fearing woman who sang and clapped and lifted her hands in praise at church each Sunday while teaching lessons of virtue as written straight from the Bible. She was loving and caring. I still long for her soft, warm hugs on days when life overwhelms me. But she never thought to turn inward and do a few favors for herself.

I used to think, “If only she had gotten a gastric bypass…” or “If only we could’ve gotten her a nutritionist.” “If only she could have survived, we could have made things better after she came home from the hospital,” and “If only we could have made things different.” Now that I am a fitness coach, I think, “If only she could see me now…”

The truth is, I do this because I know what kind of damage poor health and obesity can cause. These are avoidable conditions, and I’ve watched them both rip my family apart. I love my grandmother very much (So much. SO much.) but I also think it’s unfair that she left us all to mourn her when we were most vulnerable. It’s selfish of me to say that, but in many ways, it was selfish of her to not take better care of herself for the sake of her family. Dying at the age of 57 is not a normal occurrence. It is not natural. That only happens when you have a serious health condition that debilitates you. A normal lifespan is much longer than 57 years…

So, as I settle into my official new title as coach, I am channeling my passion to see people turn off the path of poor choices for their health and jump onto the path of good nutrition and exercise. I do not want to build an army of terminators. I’m not looking to make anyone into a bikini model or iron man. However, if choking down some healthy greens and sweating it out three times a week keeps a middle aged man alive long enough to see his grandkids graduate from high school, then I’m ecstatic to have done my job. I will always love and miss my grandmother – to the point that it hurts me – but I am working to turn her painful death into a call to action for me and everyone else I meet.