About this time last year…

“Perhaps that is where our choice lies — in determining how we will meet the inevitable end of things, and how we will greet each new beginning.”
Elana K. Arnold, Burning

I was hitting the streets in my running shoes on a whim. I saw my guy run and I thought, “Hey, I like to run. If he can. I can.” And I did. I am not the world’s fastest runner, nor do I intend to be. Some people focus on distance and others focus on speed. I think I am more at my own mommy rhetoric jive of fast one day, distance next without purpose or rhyme or reason.

Last year to keep myself moving and focused I played the lyrics to “I am a solider” & “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. For me the words kept me moving forward chugging away at my excess weight both mentally and physically. This year’s theme in my mind are two reoccurring phrases….Purposeful Intention….React with purpose. I have goals both physically, professionally, emotionally and every other ally I can find. If I follow through with the the two phrases I will succeed or at least know I tried.

So today I started my new Hammer Hybrid as I have hashtagged. I am Mommy Rhetoric and I can make up my own hashtags. This am everything that could go wrong did go wrong and I was so very close to saying, “I will start tomorrow.” I am very in tune with the universe and my own spirituality so when things go wrong I take that as divine intervention.

But something in me told me to turn my car around, change my clothes, grab my already packed lunch and say “Not today. I will start this today.” And I did it. I am so glad I did, too. I forget just how colorful eating is on the container program. So many pretty colors and varieties and the flavors.

I don’t intend to share every single meal, but I am sharing today because I am excited and my food was not just amazing….but it was AUUUUUMAZING! I had a shakeology for breakfast, 2 hard boiled eggs. Then for a mid-morning snack a half of an english muffin with 1 tsp of peanut butter and half a banana.

And this is where it gets amazing. For lunch, I prepped salsa chicken (you can find in my 21 day fix days)  yesterday, salsa from scratch, brown rice and black beans. I compiled this all to make a “burrito bowl”. I can tell you right now I won’t ever eat at a Chipolte because of their food issues and my OCD. However, I know how amazing their food was. When I sat down to lunch today I wasn’t expecting much. I figured it may be edible and that was my goal. It tasted just like chipolte. It was so good. I had a salad on the side with ginger dressing. (Brown rice = 1 yellow) (Black beans = 1/4 yellow) (salad = 1 green) (salsa chicken = 1 red) (salsa = green) I can’t remember if salsa is free or a green, but I call it a green.

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I didn’t stop there either. When I got home in my crock pot I had a lovely pork loin roast in the crock pot to shred for carnitas. I came in the door and took two thin mission corn tortillas and draped them over the oven rack. I shredded my pork, topped with my more from scratch salsa. I placed the meat in the toasted tortillas topped with lettuce, more salsa and 1 tsp of colby jack cheese. I did this twice. (corn tortilla = 1 yellow) (carnita meat = 1 red) (lettuce and salsa = 1 green) and snack tonight was watermelon.

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I also got my three mile run in and Hammer 10 minute abs. I am quite proud of myself for that hard work. But I stuck to the plan, no derailments and no “cheats”. Day # 1 is in the books. I have had a mild headache all day I assume from the sugar consumption that I have experienced the last few days. It isn’t at all not manageable.  I feel great otherwise. And we run on…

Authentic Self 

Confession time…

Confession:

  1.  I have gained 3lbs
  2. The last two weeks have been so work and home stressful combined
  3. I gave myself permission to emotionally eat
  4. I also gave myself permission to not exercise unless I had the energy to do it 
  5. I didn’t put myself first and I know I should 
  6. I resorted back to some of my old habits 
  7. And finally…I don’t care. 

I refuse to beat myself up. Does that mean I didn’t have moments of regret? No. I had quite a few. I also knew exactly what I was doing and was aware of the consequences. The reality was I had massive responsibilities at work outside of my classroom the kind of things the public forgets that teachers do. I found myself longing to just walk into my classroom and just teach. But I also love being there for my students, so I willingly choose to serve my student population outside of classroom. And yes it hit hard and fast the last three weeks. Throw in a nasty virus that hit our house, a sad death in our family and my grad course. 


And yes Mommy Rhetoric didn’t make the best choices. But I did try and be really in tune with the physical and mental need for physical activity. Today to jumpstart my personal motivation I did what I always do…I listened to Shaun T.’s “Trust and Believe” podcast where he spoke about being your authentic self. As I walked and listen I really started to think about exactly how far I have come. I found this part of myself the last year that has made me feel honest and true to who I am more than anything other than my guy. 

And that is that I need exercise like I need water, food and love. If I constantly stay in tune with that I feel like I am truly being who I am. I would love to tell you I exercised faithfully every single day. I didn’t though. Some days I literally came home and put myself to bed from sheer exhaustion, other days I had a cup of coffee and I ran till I couldn’t anymore. That is me being my authentic self of being so in tune with myself that I recognize the needs of my body and you can’t beat yourself up for that. 

But you know what I have been so happy the last three weeks. Happy because I am living in my truth and my passion. That is taking care of my family, being there for my students and fulfilling my passions. But alas the time has come….the calm. Summer is approaching and the focus can now shift back to making me a priority. I started today. I have been struggling with programs for awhile now. 

I have running goals. Doing a complete workout program start to finish sometimes makes my running goals fall by the wayside. But I started to think I had seen other hybrid versions of workouts that included running, so I began to think maybe I could combine my more recent love of lifting with my old faithful running. I sat down and created a 30 day Hammer (Sagi from Hammer and Chisel) a Running Hybrid program. I intend to do the 21 Day containers because I know how important nutrition is to lifting. Truthfully, for muscles to do what you want them to do (and look how you want them to look) you gotta eat right. So I will follow the eating plan for “leaning out”. 


I am not gonna lie, I am so proud of myself for doing that. That was a huge step in the right direction after the last month or so where I haven’t been too goal oriented. I am starting tomorrow and I am gonna kick some butt. Today I was feeling frumpy and blah. So I did what I do when I feel like that….first I listened to Shaun T. And then I took a shot to do a side by side to remind myself just how far I have come and then it all seemed silly and I moved on. There is tomorrow. I get a reset. RESET hit and hybrid program on. Whoop! 

I don’t want to be your inspiration.

Photo (1)The last few months I have heard the phrase, “You are such an inspiration” so much and I naturally do not take compliments very well, but this one has never set well with me. Once I hear it I often go into my own head recounting all the things I have done that day to prove I am anything but an inspiration.

It is no secret the year of 2015 was the year of Mommy Rhetoric. I figured my shit out. I got myself together. I made myself a priority. But the more you think you have it all together and figured out the more I realized I have nothing figured out and just when I think I do have it all figured out the more the universe says, “Oh hell no.”

The year 2014 was hands down the worst year of all of my life. My life crumbled. I dealt withIMG_4854 the worst life could throw me. I pretended to be okay, but all the while I was a pile of mush and mess of emotions that I had no idea how to deal with. I told myself and others I was okay, while inside I traveled further and further away from who I really was.

The reality is that in 2015 I was forced to deal with that separation from myself and others. I lived through a crisis and came out on the other side. What came out on the other side was a crumbled version of my family and a crumbled version of myself. I felt like I was in a forest and fighting to find my way out. I said it before and I will say it again. My brain, my body and my heart gained an irrecoverable wrinkle that forever changed me and them. It then became my job to put myself back together so that I could help put them back together. And that process…it ain’t easy.

I struggled forgiving others in my life who couldn’t save me from that forest especially the ones who I felt like didn’t even try. I still struggle that they can’t forgive me for being lost in the forest. I saw true nature of others image1and they saw my own true nature.  I stared at my faith in the eye and had it more defined for me than it had ever been and if I am honest all of that was incredibly ugly, and angry.

I had to find a way to forgive a lot. But most importantly I had to find a way to forgive myself. And being honest I am not even sure I am there yet. This type of forgiveness takes time, grace and whole lot of love. And the process really doesn’t feel all that inspiring. So when I hear, “you are inspiring” I feel like a fraud.

My weight loss is so much more than an inspirational story or a container system or work out program. It is my therapy. It is my method of coping and dealing with life handing you lemons and choosing to use that lemon for my water instead of making a pie. It is my way to get into my own head and figure my shit out. Mile by mile. Workout by workout. Doughnut by doughnut (okay, I am kidding! maybe?).

I know I don’t normally cuss on my blog anymore, but if I am here and I am truthful and I am Mommy Rhetoric in all her glory. The only word that adequately describes what the last few years have been like for me it is necessity. It is therapeutic and it is my truth. Working through this is a process that I feel like could take me a lifetime. Someday it feels like I have made progress and other days it feels like I am right back to where I started.

 

It is true my life is exponentially better. But never mistake that Photo (2)for a perfect and inspiring life. We still deal daily with how our lives have changed and I am really only beginning to see some parts of the ramifications of this messy life. But on the hard days I hit the road or a sweat a little longer. Or I have a doughnut.

But I also still battle the beast that is emotional eating. I get bothered sometimes that people think I am always so good because I think they would be disappointed in me or would be shocked to see just how uninspirational I truly am. But that is one thing I hope I have done in this journey and that is sharing my truth that can one day offer up a day of doughnuts, Dr. Peppers and french fries and the next show a disciplined athlete and eater.

I don’t have those Dr. Pepper days as much that is true, but they still exist and no that doesn’t make me a cheater or a bad person for eating “bad” food. It me dealing with reality. Some days are harder than others. I never look at a day as the sun comes up and think today will be a bad day or today will be a good day. I honestly tackle the world minute by minute.

I hit each day and I tackle it the best I can. Some days I kill it. Other days I fail miserably, but the most important part of all of this is….. I hit each day and I tackle it the best I can. That is a decision I make and that is the one and only inspirational part of my story. Not the inches lost, not what a square box says, not what I put in my mouth and certainly not how my clothes fit. It is deciding every single day that I am worthy of this life and that I need to tackle every day and what it brings. Even the hard stuff.

So when you are searching for inspiration please don’t find it in people. Find it in yourself. We are all beautiful in our own ways and we find a way to not only see those ways, but honor them by being who you are unashamedly and without hesitation. The world wants to see your true authentic self and that is where inspiration lies. That is what I hope makes me inspirational to all of you.

I encourage each of you take a minute and look on your phone or a device and find a picture where you are truly smiling. Not a fake selfie taken 30 times for the right angle or light. Just a picture that is snapped where you see pure and utter happiness and tell yourself this life throws us things…crappy, crappy things, but you chose to smile. That is where love lies. Love always wins. 

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A family stronger than ever. A woman being comfortable in her own skin and who she is. A man recovering from an incurable neurological disorder and major life disruption. A man and woman trying to raise daughters the best way they know how. Two teenage girls and all that entails and one baby girl who has so much yet to conquer. All those smiles. Those personalities. That is LOVE WINNING.

Signing out as Mommy Rhetoric and still searching for Less of Me (let me know if you find it)

The outside and the inside 

Probably not gonna be the most exciting post I have ever written, but much of my health journey came to some sort of full circle a week ago today. 

As I spoke about in my last post, I under went a laparoscopic surgery last week. In order to have the surgery I had to do pre-surgery testing. My procedure was in a hospital that I have never set foot in. So I was new on the books. Which meant they had to spend a little extra time creating my “new health profile”. 

That was how the very 5am morning started. As we went through each and every question and I answered each and everyone my nurse eventually proclaimed, “You are quite possibly the healthiest person I have ever seen.” 

Then we dive into the my pre-surgery blood work and vitals. She then proclaims, “You are the healthiest person to have seen.” I literally had this surgery as my “blip” on the radar and my occasional need for migraine meds which I have used twice in the last year. 

Yes most of this conversation served as a confirmation of all my hard work both physically and in the kitchen. But it continued. My average blood pressure a ton down from where it averaged a year ago. A mean such a drastic change I didn’t even believe it. 

Those are all physical manifestations of the healthy lifestyle changes I have made. But the confirmations continued. As my nurse goes to put my continuous blood pressure monitoring cuff and iv in she has to go down the the child versions of these because my arm won’t give off a reading in the bp cuff in the adult one and my veins are so small for the larger iv. 

As well, the word “tiny” was used to describe me 8 times. Tiny isn’t really something I care about because healthy is the goal always.  But to hear myself being called “tiny” is so shocking to me. 

  Mentions of tiny were made on the lack of space I took on the surgical bed, transfer bed and the amount 104 degree blankets it took to keep my body warm enough. And finally on how my body fit into the wheelchair as I was led out. 

So yes much of this served to show me my changes were not just on the outside, but the inside. Which I kinda needed because of the forced 10 days of rest. I am on day 7 and I am struggling. I am trying to eat well. I have gained 2lbs. 

I am not too upset about about it because my doctor warned me there will be bloating for upto two weeks. But I am upset about not being able to move more. But in due time! 

I am just grateful I have had the ability to turn my health around so drastically and that I have fully committed to taking care of myself and making me a priority. This surgery definitely is a part of that given I have waited to have it for two years. 

I am hoping I continue to have the will and want to move on and keep myself moving in the right direction. 

Sharing some of the details. 

I had surgery yesterday. A surgery that has been 2.5 years in the making. The actual surgery itself for me is kinda personal, so I have been toying with sharing for the last three months when my doctor pretty much said it was time. The reason behind the surgery is what needs to be public. However, the surgery for me feels extremely private. 

I have post tubal ligation syndrome which is a kinda newer diagnosis. Though I believe it has always been around, but doctors just started paying attention and not telling their patients to see a psychiatrist. Basically women would come in and complain and their doctors treated them like they were crazy. Thankfully, I have never been told that. Essentially I had a tubal ligation with ablation and the combo of the two more times than not will mess with a females hormones and body. It comes with some nasty symptoms (or side effects depending on how you look at it). They don’t really know why these things are happening and they just started acknowledging it as a thing in late 2011. 

I had the original surgery 5 years ago. If you read here back then you probably remember I got really sick immediately following surgery. I carried a 101-102 temp for 21 days and I incessantly vomited all 21 days. No one could really figure out what the problem was. They say this is pretty normal for this procedure basically because it cuts off blood flow from tubes to uterus.  Once I got better things were going relatively well till about a little more than two years ago right before my guy got TN sick. 

I suddenly suffered from dibilitating pain at random times and always on my left side. The doctor was ready to go in and see what needed to be fixed to get rid of the pain. This would have been 2013. Though he didn’t calls it PTLS,  so imagine it wasn’t figured out even then by my doctors office. Then my guy got sick and I refused to even consider surgery and I just learned to cope with heating pads and and warm baths. It got to the point eventually that I was diagnosed twice with bleeding ulcers from my excessive Advil usage to cope with the pain. 

Every time I saw my doctor and he discussed this surgery and I had another ultrasound he would push for the surgery. But  

 with my Guy’s current health situation I was not in the position to have him take care of me after a surgery and TN pain can literally change by the second. I had to be available to him. 

In November of this year finally the pain got so bad I knew it was time to do something. So I began the process for the surgery. It was discovered I had massive amounts of scar tissue and fluid stuck all over my uterus and tubes because of the previous procedure. The surgery I had yesterday was to remove the scar tissue so that that the trapped fluid could leave. This was attempted in hopes it will help with the horrible pain I have. If not…this summer I will undergo a total hysterectomy. 

Again the important part of this post isn’t the personal side of this surgery. Instead I am sharing so others can read my symptoms. My doctor left his practice earlier this fall and I switched to a new doctor that actually not only knew about PTLS, but she made a quick diagnosis. She told me the name and told me to look it up. And if I am being honest I was grateful and shocked to see that others were suffering like me. So I hope to do the same as what all the brave and courageous women who were sharing stories similar to my own. 

My Symptoms of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome 

  • Immediately following surgery there were unexplained complications like fever and nausea
  • Peeling and cracked finger nails
  • Random pain in your abdomen that radiates through hips and knees
  • Excessive mood swings 
  • Achy joints (especially knees) 
  • Weird acne in weird places
  • Bleeding ulcers and stomach pain from excessive use of Tylenol, Advil and Motrin 
  • Hair falling out in huge clumps 
  • Depression

Just remember these are my symptoms. I know others have different symptoms, but most are usually similar. The part I find odd is I was in less pain immediately after the surgery compared with the pain I had the week before. That tells me how bad the pain truly was/is. I go for a follow up in three weeks to see if the pain has subsided. Crossing my fingers it does. 

There isn’t much I am thankful for when it comes to TN. However, I am on this. This was/is so minor compared with what we have gone through with my guy. The nurse and I were even joking compared to Kyle this is nothing. It just had finally gotten to a point where it was disrupting my life on a regular basis. 

So here’s to hoping this fixed things. 

It is NOT the most wonderful time of year. 

This time of year is where my motivation is most lacking. The cold weather and the rain. Kpuff and I’s schedule is very conflicting so we don’t get to work out together as much. So to me it feels like the perfect storm to make excuses and not carry through and some days that wins. I keep reminding myself it passes quickly. But I still hate it none the less. 

I am anxious for the warmer weather so I can run. Treadmill running even with my own spicing it up with different  

 intervals is awful and I can never do as much as I can do outside. We are in a workout program, P90X3, and I like it okay. It isn’t awful or anything. I think it is mostly because most of it I haven’t been able to do with Kpuff and I am having surgery in two weeks where I have to take a 10 day rest. I feel stalled and like I am waiting on something. 

And when that happens I look in the mirror and see the old me. I feel like the old me. My mind plays tricks. The scale has moved down some. But somehow I convince myself I have gained weight and my clothes aren’t fitting. Then the urge to comfort eat happens and then I don’t and then I feel bitter. Most of the time I don’t give in and just walk around grumpy and wishing I could eat the junk. 

So I guess I am basically saying I miss my daily accountability partner. For me that has been a huge part of my success. Second part of that is I miss running outside. It provides me with so much mental clarity and keeps me from getting bored. A treadmill doesn’t do that. I have a goal to focus on and compete with myself and I can look at a map and see what I did. Treadmill running doesn’t provide that. 

The most irritating part of that is how easily it is for my brain to slip back into that negative space. Without little thought or planning I am back to beating myself up and convince myself I am not doing enough. It is all crap. And it makes me mad, but yet I continue to do it. 

It is rare disease awareness day. 

And I could tell you about TN. There are two versions of this story. The one where we overcame. Or the one where we just survive in the now. Can you guess which one I would pick? Some days it is one and others it is the other, and then there are days where it is both. 

TN never left. I don’t blog about it everyday because it has become a part of our everyday normal. What once sent fear into my heart now I find comfort in. The face jerks they don’t whittle away my nerves like they once did. I also have gotten very good at recognizing the intensity. 

But every night as I rub my guys head to sleep I remember. I run my fingers over his scar. Every morning when I look at our medicine cabinet I am reminded. The pill bottles take up so much space. Or the fact that he has no short term memory. Or the fear of making any long term decisions because there always is that what if out there. 

So is it better…yes. But what is actually better is my coping with it. I remember last year at lunch trying to talk about it with co-workers and not being able to get through the conversation. And truthfully he makes it better. He proceeds as normally as he can. Maybe he sleeps a little longer, or he forgets a few things on the honey do list. But most of the time he proceeds normally. 

It is only the twitch of his face that reminds me. That twitch has the ability to punch me right in the gut. And I take the punch and move on. TN will never win. Ever. Love will always win in the E household. 

Insert something witty.

Remember when I used to do just write? I do. Some of that writing was my best because I just let the words come. Seldom do they come anymore. Not because they aren’t there but instead I suppress. Why say them outloud? Who really hears them?

Sometimes it just feels like all we do is talk and talk, but never really listen. Listening is the hard part I think. It requires thoughtful purposeful intention. That is hard. It is mostly definitely a weakness for me. I have a profession that requires me to do the talking. I am constantly formulating that next lesson, working on that next check for understanding, but the listening gets lost in the midst of the busyness of my own mind and formulations. And what happens at the end of the day is the opposite of what I want to do in this world. 

To give a voice to the voiceless and be the ear they so desperately need. But I get lost in my own self, my own agenda. I wish  was better, but alas I am not. So I sit here and I think about it and what I can change for next time. How I can make it better or how I could have played it differently. 

I don’t have the answers. I am still figuring them out.  

Master of all or Master of Nothing.

So this week was insane for a host of reasons most of which were my own doing. I kept wanting to complain and then would say to myself, “Don’t glorify busy.” The type of busy I was was not a good thing. I should have said no. But I didn’t. And then when I started running fevers and pretended to feel okay I should have definitely said no but I didn’t. 

Sometimes I get very afraid to let others down despite knowing that most of the time others will let me down in a way I am not willing to do to others. I wonder why that is sometimes. I get jealous of others that can say no and know their limits. I find out every year that my limits are forced upon me by my body saying no. That is where I am at. I have been sick for 6 weeks at this point. My immunity is clearly compromised by something. 

So I begin to list in my head toward the end of week things that are in my power to control and change. Some of this will end up being a review of my latest fitness program and some is just me thinking out loud for all of you. I started Masters Hammer and Chisel with the approach to become more lean and hopefully find ways to fit into my saggy skin. I cut my calories down from my usual 1400-1600 to 1100-1200 because that is what I know on this program. It follows 21 fix portions. The problem I believe to be I need more calories now. My metabolism is much higher than it was a year ago. But I did and will follow the program for my last week. But I need more proteins and carbs than I am getting. I feel it. 

I love the weightlifting of the program, but I don’t find myself satisfied with doing it daily. I know the benefits of weightlifting and this program showed me that. But I like to sweat, I like to feel out of breath and see and feel my body move fast. I think if I were eating more of the above I may have enjoyed it more. 

The second part to this is I have a long torso and short legs. Large calves run in my family. The weight loss and running  

 really started to trim them down where I begin to not feel so conscious of them. This program went the other direction with that. My thighs grew 1.5 inches, my above knee grew 1 inch, my below knee grew 1 inch and my calves grew 2 inches. I recognize this is muscle but I don’t want that. I want that in my biceps and forearms and I got it, but not in my legs. 

The good parts of this program are feeling my bones and curves more than I ever have. I mentally and physically feel strong. My veins have been popping in my hands and arms showing more muscle definition. My skin in my abdominal region is getting looser. So yes it works, but never will I have a 6 pack that is promised on this program. And I don’t mean I don’t have one because I do. It is just under lots of skin so you won’t see it. 

I also have lost about 11lbs on it. But again I have been sick and had zero appetite. So basically, I am admitting I probably didn’t do the program total justice by not eating enough for what I was lifting and that made me feel depleted and spent. And if I am totally honest (don’t flame me) I find Autumn absolutely condescending and uninspiring. I know she has a following and I understand it because her portion control system saved my life, but her motivation methods do not work for me. I feel insulted on every level when she talks and by the things she says. Now Sagi is amazing. I put him up there with Shaun T. and Chalene Johnson. Maybe it is my perception, so I own that. But I willing to try again later. I do know I like to lift weights and will continue to do so for my arms. They need it. 

But let’s talk other factors that are pulling at me. Work is nuts. It is so hard to keep a work life balance sometimes but sometimes I just have to mentally tell myself to be present and forget work. It is hard because sometimes that means I can’t do the things I want to do. Even more so because I love my job so much it doesn’t feel like work. 

And TN I have been kinda silent about it all because it is different this year. It isn’t as frequent, but it is far more demanding. When triggers would happen before the pain would happen and then immediately be replaced by what he described as tingling and numbness. Well that barrier has been replaced by the typical pain. The numbness and tingling isn’t always happening. In fact, it probably only does about 20% of the time. But it doesn’t happen as often. As well, he is on high doses of his epileptic drugs to control. He saw neurologist last week and not a lot to report other than that is how TN works. It will increase in pain every year. Then we explore options again. Until then he takes his meds and increase dosages if needed. Such is the life with TN. 

Basically, I need to stop making life and all or nothing and look at it more at what I can accomplish and when and feel less guilty about what others see and think of my ability to be super me at everything. I logically know this but then life happens, I get busy and before I know it I am not living but surviving. Getting through till the next weekend where I can collapse and charge just enough to get through the next week. That isn’t how I want to live. So new goal for this week is to say no to something and be okay with it. 

Photo Credit: a student took this picture on my iPad and I have loved it and I really presents how I feel right now…a spiral staircase in the dark. That sound sad or lonely, but it really isn’t. That is life….thank you to the kiddo who took this because you get me. 

Yes this.

Living life to the max over here in Indiana. I am overwhelmed. Stressed. Tired. Feeling pulled in every single direction and trying to do it all with a smile. It is all about perspective, I know and I need to find some….NOW!