Just Keep Swimming

Almost two years ago I declared that I would never drink alcohol again. I am very hard-headed. I can be extremely arrogant and once I’ve decided on something I dive in, determined to swim. It was a bit of a panicky, floppy, doggy paddle in the beginning but eventually it turned into a calm easy backstroke. After 18 months of stargazing and cloud viewing I ran into a buoy called moderation. If you, the reader have read any of my blog posts before, you know where this is going. I slipped, more than once in the past six months. I am not starting over. I’m not going to reset the clock to saying that I quit drinking last Sunday. But I do want to be honest with everyone who follows me, who knows me and who may be wondering where I’m at with sobriety. I’m also writing this to humble myself and bring myself down a few notches. I inhaled a mouth full of salt water, chocked on it for awhile but I’m breathing again and plan to just keep swimming.

 

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365 Days

One year ago today I woke up on the couch. I was sleeping sitting up with my head on a cushion and my neck in an awful position. I was sleeping this way to prevent myself from getting sick. I opened my eyes and almost instantly had a sinking, terrible feeling in my stomach that was in no way related to nausea. I picked up my phone and began texting apologies to countless people; some were received graciously while others were not. My hands were trembling, my body was shaking and all I wanted to do was cry. I said to myself “I never want to drink again”. I had said this before, multiple times, but something felt different. I said it again and again until finally it came out “I will never drink again.”

It’s been one year.

It’s been one year since I’ve had a hangover, since I’ve woke up ashamed and embarrassed because of what I might have done the night before (because God knows I didn’t remember). One year since I’ve “rewarded” myself by getting drunk. One year since I’ve had to text people apologies for driving drunk, for my loud mouth, emotional outbursts or just flat out crude or harsh behavior.

What have I learned?

I’ve learned how to act in a social situation without having any liquid courage. I’ve learned how to have a debate without getting choked up, raising my voice, or embarrassing myself while defending my opinion. I’ve learned how to have fun late into the night without feeling like complete shit the next day. I learned that alcohol exaggerates everything and drunk reality isn’t real.

When you can’t have a drink you’re forced to face yourself; all your quarks, flaws and insecurities. You’re forced to get to know who you are. And then, as time goes on, you begin to accept who you’ve become.

I am not a loud mouth, inappropriate, overly dramatic person. I was all of those things because I was drunk. I am not an awkward, uncomfortable, social outcast. I drank because I thought I was all of those things if I wasn’t drinking.

I am fun. I am funny. I am caring and loving. I am sober.

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213 Days

I am standing at the end of a table. I’m surrounded by people I have met but do not know. They are socializing with each other, sipping on wine or scotch and I stand alone, club soda in hand, smiling.

There are moments in life when I come into my body. My head comes out of the clouds, out of its busy thinking and I am fully alert and aware of the situation I am in. People around the world strive for this kind of awareness. I too have taken classes on it, and it isn’t easy. But every once in a while it just happens, without meditation, without effort and without struggle.

This is what’s happening at the end of the table. At a business function flowing with cocktails and wine, the air is thick with pretension and arrogance, and I am calm. I am calm and content and have no insecurities. I don’t feel awkward or ashamed, embarrassed or stuttery; instead I feel confident in my own skin. Alcohol plays no part in my new-found comfort. And just now I realize all these years of drinking to be comfortable actually caused more discomfort and embarrassment. I just wasn’t aware until I awoke.
I am sober. I am confident. And for the first time, I am comfortable.

7 months

I’M BACK!!

So I took the month of December off and it put me back a few steps but I’m back on track and feeling fantastic. A week from tomorrow is 7 months booze free, I’m weighing in at 147 and I’m back on the workout train. For the past 9 days I’ve been eating 1200 calories a day, which is hard but it does allow me to save 300 calories for an end of the day candy bar :). On February 1st Kenny and I are going to start Whole30. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it basically means I can’t eat for 30 days. It will be a fun challenge though because my dad, Lisa, and my friend Jessica are all going to do it too. Anyone else want to join in? Whole30

Apparently 2015 is going to be all about challenges because I joined a 7 day ab challenge on Facebook. I have never done a Facebook challenge before but having 130 people all doing the same thing is very motivating. Last night was my first night with a 10 minute ab workout video. I looked ridiculous. In 10 minutes I fell over twice, I had to take 3 breaks, I did the easy version every time I could and when it was all said and done I wanted to cry. Instead of crying I decided to take a selfie…
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And then I got up and did some bicep/triceps/back workouts in our gym. I couldn’t do the amount of reps the workout required but I still felt bad ass. I thought, “Hell yeah, I’m doing 15 reps with 20 pounds in each hand. I’m awesome!!” Then Kenny came home and told me I was only using 10 pound weights. Uhg!! It’s a start though, and before you know it I will be using 20 pounds, and then 25 and I’ll just keep adding more until I really am a bad ass.

We ended the day with some healthy slow cooked jerk pork with a mango salsa and brown rice.
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Basically, I’m back and more motivated than ever!

Still Standing

It’s that time of year and that means everything gets a little bit harder, especially eating healthy.

Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. I haven’t completely fallen off the health wagon. I am still sober and still eating healthy. This past Saturday marks 5 months alcohol free. I have also made it the entire month of November without a candy bar. So I’m still rocking and rolling, kind of.

On November 1st it snowed in South Carolina. It was record breaking cold, it was raining, it was wet and icy and needless to say, I did not participate in the 5k. On an even worse note, the coughing has returned so running is on the back burner right now.

I’m going back to the doctor on December 5th and I’m not quite sure what will happen but the whole thing really pisses me off. And usually when one thing goes wrong I throw my hands up and completely give up. I have not done that this time, at least not completely. I haven’t been as strict with my food choices but when I look at what I used to eat, there’s a pretty significant improvement. Let me show you what I mean…

A typical day in May 2014:
Breakfast: Coffee with peppermint mocha coffee creamer or a white chocolate mocha from McDonald’s.
Snack: Pretzels or Cookies (if the cookie of the month came in).
Lunch: Wendy’s Ranch Chicken Club Sandwich (chicken served spicy and fried) with a large order of French Fries and a large Diet Coke (who wants the extra sugar of a regular?). Or a Big Mac Meal (large) from McDonald’s, or a 4 Piece Chicken Strip meal with French Fries and a Biscuit from Bojangles with a Sweet Tea (because I’m sure there’s less sugar in a sweet tea than there is in a regular soda).
Basically, I had a specific order for each fast food restaurant within a 10 mile radius.
Snack (again): A sharing size bag of peanut butter M&M’s (except I didn’t share).
Dinner: could be anything from Shake & Bake Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, to Hamburger Helper, or a large pizza from Papa Johns (we’d eat it all), maybe fast-food again, or something with a lot of pasta.
Dessert: We would usually eat a very large bowl of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream or I’d have a King Size Take-5 and Kenny would have Skittles, or sometimes cookies and milk. And dessert was never skipped.

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A typical day now;
Breakfast: Coffee with a splash of half & half and a banana.
Lunch: A can of tuna and some vegetables or a turkey wrap or a salad. For a drink I have either a Seltzer Water or an Unsweetened Iced Tea. And every once in a blue moon I splurge and get a chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread and a small fry.
Dinner: This is where I’ve been getting creative lately with different healthy items. Chili with 97% fat free beef, or something with spaghetti squash where I psych us out to think we’re eating pasta, and every once in a while we’ll go out to eat but we still try to order healthy meals. And ok, we have had a pizza in the past 2 months but we didn’t eat the whole thing.
Dessert: Usually we just end the night with hot tea (no honey) or I’ll blend up a frozen banana with some all natural peanut butter and cocoa to get rid of the ice cream craving.

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So basically, when I start getting really hard on myself because I don’t feel like things are working or I start feeling like a failure, I think about all of this and realize just how far I’ve come. In 2013 those typical days would have included all of that junk food plus beer or wine, a pack of cigarettes, and 3-5 Mountain Dew’s. So no, I haven’t been running, and yes I have eaten some pizza, and yes, I even had a piece of cake on Kenny’s birthday but no, I am not giving up. I am not going to use the Holidays as an excuse to ruin the progress that I’ve made. If we can have a healthy Halloween then we can have a healthy Thanksgiving and Christmas too.

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(
Tangerines, veggies, deviled eggs with organic mayo, all-natural tortilla chips and hummus)

Kenny and I have signed up for 4 Bikram Yoga classes, we’re looking into private MMA (mixed martial arts) lessons, and I am starting a Paleo Challenge on December 1st. In other words, I’m still around, still kickin, I’ve just got to start breathing before I can post more funny exercise stories!

Happy Holidays everyone and thanks for reading!

Play Nice

Play Nice

I have realized over the past month that the key to health and fitness is being nice to yourself.
I’m sure I’ve read this somewhere before but it never stuck with me. I have constantly said horrible things to myself to try and stay motivated, for example; “No fatty, you don’t need a cookie, eat a damn carrot instead!” or “Oh, you decided to stop and walk? You are so lazy and are never going to be fit” and basically just constantly calling myself names and being a bully.

These things are not motivating or helpful at all. So now when I stop to walk because I really don’t think I can go any further, instead of thinking things like
Saying this to myself over and over today! I'm hurting! lol
or
fitness motivation: suck it up and someday you won't have to suck it in
I think things like
exercise quote: YES!!! don't quit!  starting puts you ahead of everyone else who never tried!
I've heard it told that the hate of one's body is what causes people to exercise. This always seemed so backed up to me.

I do not want to get injured. I do not want to give up. I have eaten a cookie, and it’s okay.
Running has given me an entirely different perspective. I care less about how I look and care more about what I can do and what is healthy.

I ran 2 miles without stopping in 20 minutes. I think a 10 minute mile is pretty average but what was so great is that I have never run 2 miles in my entire life. It was the perfect run. I downloaded the Nike Running app, which in a female voice tells you when you’ve reached a mile. I was breathing easily, the weather was gorgeous and I was determined to hear that I had made it 2 miles. My headband wasn’t trying to slide off and my headphones weren’t slapping me in the face. There were quite a few people on the path that day and I had to pass them which was uncomfortable but empowering at the same time. I saw a hill up ahead and my mind started screaming, “NO WAY!!! YOU CAN NOT RUN ANY LONGER!!” and I calmly said back to it, “it’s okay, we’re almost there. We have to be close.”
Sure enough, right before I reached the hill this beautiful and amazing voice came through my headphones and said to me “You have run 2 miles.” I was ecstatic! I think I actually squealed in the process of throwing my hands in the air and doing some awkward kind of dance move. It was an amazing feeling.

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Yesterday, I went out to run with the anticipation of running 2 miles again.
I got home from work and could not find any of my workout clothes. I tried on a bunch of pants and none of them were going to work for running, so I put on some tights and decided I’d wear some shorts ( the tights were for chaffing because yes, my legs rub together). In the process of looking for shorts the dresser drawer fell out, landed in the cat dish and poured water all over everything. I proceeded to pick some underwear and a pair of socks out of the water dish and throw them in the laundry basket and leave the water on the floor. All the while both the cats were under my feet meowing at me for attention. Not finding any shorts, I decided I would just throw some leggings on over the tights (I was not about to try to take them off after the ordeal I just went through to get them on). After getting the leggings on and finding a pair of dry socks, I went looking for my good sports bra, which I couldn’t find. I put on the crappy one and two tank tops with built in bras hoping this would keep the girls under control. Now, I was ready, and I was going to run.

I pulled in to the park and thankfully no one was there. I went to grab my headphones and they were wet. Apparently one of the cans I had moved out of the cup holder wasn’t empty and it spilled directly on my headphones. I dried them off, put them in, got out of the car, pressed start on my app and started running. I was going to run dammit and nothing was going to stop me! I made it about 20 steps before realizing the annoying feeling on my face was my glasses that I had forgotten to take off. I ran back to my car and threw them in. I didn’t make it far before my calves started throbbing, my hip started hurting, and my 2 tank tops were riding up and exposing that weird stomach pooch that tights give you because they’re pressing into your belly button and pushing your chunk down (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). On top of the chunk roll and the body pains there was this obnoxious up-beat techno-pop shit “music” blasting in my ears and getting on my last nerve. I kept telling myself that the beautiful voice was coming with good news but when she finally came, she sounded computerized and taunting. It said, “you have run one mile”.
I had only gone 1 mile and thought I was going to die. I had to stop.
Now for a minute I turned in to that bully again, “Oh look at you, you were SOO proud of yourself for the 2 miles, you just thought you’d be able to come out here and do it again. Well you can’t, because you suck and you barely made it a mile before you had to stop!”
I stopped that train of thought and instead said “it’s okay, every day can’t be a good day. You’re out here, you’re trying, and you’re succeeding.
This kind of positive reinforcement gave me the motivation to run more, walk, and run again.
(Yes, I am constantly talking to myself while I’m running. There is no peace and quiet time in my head; it is a never ending battle.)

It’s not always easy. It’s certainly not always fun. But all those aggravations are worth it because of how I felt when I ran 2 miles and how much better I feel in general.

I am going to start doing some bodyweight workouts. This is the most reasonable beginner routine that I found.

  • Bodyweight squats – 8-10 reps
  • Push-ups (or knee-push-ups) – 5-8 reps
  • Plank – hold for 15 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks – 15 reps
  • Bodyweight Reverse Lunges – 6 reps per leg
  • Lying Hip Raise (double or single leg) – 10 reps

I’m supposed to do 4 sets and that counts as one workout.
I’m going to start doing this three days a week, and running three days a week.
This should make for some fun blog entries. 😉
I’m not focusing as much on weight, although I do plan to weigh myself on October 1st. Instead, I’m trying to focus on how far I can go, how my clothes fit (I think my boobs have lost more weight than any other part of my body) and how I feel.
I found some before pictures that I took back in March. I might share these eventually but right now they’re still pretty scary.
I’m trying to eat clean and shop more locally. I’m going to the local Farmers Market in town tomorrow morning and trying to see if I can find some farmers who sell grass fed beef and free range chicken.
This past Monday marked 3 months sober!!
Oh and I am officially registered for my first 5K on November 1st!!
Hopefully I’ll have a perfect running day instead of a pain in the ass, aggravating, drive you absolutely mad kind of running day. But if it does turn out to be bad I’ll try to make sure everyone gets a good laugh from it!! 🙂

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(Thought I’d share a not so sweaty pic)

Thanks for reading.

The Difference

400 days ago I quit smoking.
Not that I’m counting or anything.

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The amount of likes, comments and support was actually kind of surprising. I knew that everyone would be happy about my decision. I mean let’s be honest, cigarettes make you smell terrible, feel terrible, and look terrible. But I was still surprised by how quickly my phone was blowing up with alerts and congratulations.  Now that I’ve quit I actually feel a twinge of sadness when I see people smoking, especially young people. To be addicted to something that has absolutely no positive effect really sucks.
I have seen those people (very few) that can take a puff of a cigarette when they’re drinking, or in a social situation and that’s as far as their habit goes.
They take a puff or maybe two and then they’re done and won’t touch another cigarette for a month, maybe a year.
I envy those people.
They don’t have anything clinging to them and luring them to smoke packs and packs of cigarettes. They don’t have some voice telling them that it makes them feel better, that it curbs their appetite, that it’s a stress reliever. They just take a puff and usually make a face because they then recall how gross it is, and don’t take another. I am not like that. I have taken a puff of a cigarette since I quit and all I wanted to do was smoke the entire thing, and then ask for another. I didn’t do this but I wanted to, I really, really wanted to.
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The support continues!

Now I knew the next thing I was going to give up would not get this much attention.
I’ve made it 34 days.

Smoking makes you smell terrible, feel awful, and look bad.
Alcohol has all these same effects on me.
Here’s the main difference.
Everyone in the world knows you shouldn’t smoke.
Everyone is in agreement, even people who still smoke.
Alcohol is not universally bad for everyone.
But it is bad for me.
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To be honest, I was surprised this got 26 likes.
I thought I knew the people that would be supportive and I could count them on one hand. I am very glad that more than 4 people were supporting me.
But there is obviously a dramatic difference from the decision to quit smoking and the decision to quit drinking.
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I thought that quitting drinking would be easier than smoking.
I smoked a pack a day.
I did not drink every day.
When I quit smoking I turned into a raging psycho for a while.
On the weekends I went crazy, taking shots every time I wanted a cigarette, and complaining about how I didn’t really want to quit, etc.
At one point my husband even told me he was considering going to the gas station up the street and buying me a pack of cigarettes because I was driving him crazy. (haha)
I quit cold turkey!
(why do they call it that anyway?)
My dad and sister quit at the same time and I had a lot of support which helped a lot!

Alcohol has been WAY different.
The first week was this awesome high I’ve never felt.
Like I was free!
That high went away and I’ve started to crave sugar.
Ice cream, candy bars, zebra cakes, and the list goes on and on.
(so much for cutting out calories by ditching alcohol)
I get frustrated and angry and I don’t know what to do.
I can’t smoke a cigarette, and I can’t have a glass of wine.
I actually have to sit with my feelings and figure out why they’re there and what to do with them.
This has been the hardest (and the strangest) part of all.
This quit will be forever.
There is a voice just like the one with cigarettes that’s trying to lure me back to drinking. It’s telling me that I can’t have fun without it, that I need it to feel better, that it’s a stress reliever and that it helps with anxiety, awkwardness and discomfort.
It tells me that other people don’t want to hang out with me when I’m sober, that I’m not as fun, and that it makes the people I’m around uncomfortable (it might be right about the last one).
I do not want other people to quit because I am.
I do not sit and watch everyone else with judging eyes and feel like I am better because I am sober.
I had to quit for me because I could feel it dragging me down and becoming bigger than I could handle.
And like I said before, it is sad to see a young person addicted to something that has absolutely nothing positive to offer them.

I plan to continue to write about how this journey goes. This journey to forever. I might even share awesome non-alcoholic drink recipes, and motivational quotes. This is my life now and I am proud of it. I am free.