Archive for weight loss

Buy this! Do that! Subscribe here! Don’t eat that! And other expensive extreme stuff that doesn’t work…

Posted in come back, health & fitness, Mom, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2018 by runmyssierun

“You need to eat low carb and high protein. Lots of meat!”

“No, you need to stop killing animals. Go vegan. Eat fruits and berries and vegetables and you’ll be fit naturally.”

“No, all you need is this meal replacement shake that you can buy from me.”

Everywhere I turn, there seems to be people who tell me how I’m supposed to be doing things… and yet, here I am… still.

I remember growing up watching my mom drinking tab and being on the grapefruit diet. I’m guilty of buying a Shake Weight, thigh master and some ridiculous balance thingamajig that a couple of fellow Realtors® convinced me to get with them – and never used.

I remember my husband’s grandmother eating a full box of chocolate exlax every other night and being surrounded by a bunch of beauty queens with other notorious eating disorders that seemed oddly ordinary at the time. In my house, there was a full set of Gilad, Jane Fonda, Buns of Steel and Cindy Crawford on betamax tapes.

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I pay an $80 monthly membership for my husband’s jujitsu gym that he went to a couple of time about 7 months ago. Also pay for a monthly membership for us to go to another gym and now pay extra for spin classes that I can get free with my monthly gym membership at the other place. I’ve paid for medical weightloss programs like HCG and tried every diet known to mankind like keto, adkins, paleo, bone broth, vegan, vegetarian, fasting, juicing, eating five servings of air a day, etc…. only to find that my triglycerides go through the roof, extremities swell up like the elephant man and end up gaining more weight than when I started the silly diet! I’ve tried to melt off pounds with saunas, hot yoga and trashbag looking sweat suits and even tried to freeze off love handles with cryotherapy (although cryo is really good for other things and muscle recoop that I love and saunas for simple peace) and continue to remain the flabalanche that I am.  I’ve hesitantly bought into programs where if I just drink this shake, I can magically melt off the pounds…. really just look at these before and after pictures of one of their clients yada yada yada. And have now had the horrible thought go through my head where I’ve reduced myself to giving up and thinking if I just go get a mommy make over now, could I possibly have enough time to recover and be perfect for my son’s wedding pictures? Every possible option has been entertained, hesitantly entered, jumped in head first 100% and still failed miserably.

Thousands of dollars spent and hundreds of pounds lost and gained and lost again and gained back… I’ve come to the conclusion that health and fitness is NOT a one size fits all solution. Until I did things the old fashioned way – the hard way – the long way – and even then, got hurt and have found myself starting over.

Each one of our bodies are different from the other and so are our genetics, our good habits, bad habits, every day physical behaviors, customs and beliefs. To get sucker punched hard enough to think that there is one magic pill, shake or exercise and diet program that can conquer this multifaceted dilemma is seriously far fetched.

What I write about in this blog is what my own personal family history, upbringing, genetics and experiences have brought me. It may NOT fit you. If you have just started reading this blog, go to the search box and type in “How it all started” and read the entries in chronological order, How It All Started I, How It All Started II and How It All Started III.

I’ve learned through the course of all this time, expense and great lessons is simple:

  1. Make better food choices: If God didn’t make it naturally, don’t eat it. If you ate something you aren’t supposed to and/or too much of it, just get up and get yourself back onto the band wagon and start over. We all fall down some time.
  2. Move: do something you like to do so it’s not such a downer chore. Gardening, Zumba, Soccer, Marathons, Triathlons, Hiking, Roller Blading, Walking, Crossfit, nigh club dancing… whatevs… just do something and do it consistently.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to others or yourself from way back when: I have ONE nemesis, 22 year old Myssie.   You remember that girl, the one who ate pizza and nachos and cheese puffs and still had the body to die for? Ugh! I hate that girl!!!!

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Simple huh?

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Yeah right. I’m still and will always be a work in progress. Always seeking out something fun to keep me active, and open to new ideas… yeah, even a shake weight. I do good on the food choices… MOST of the time and other times, eh, not so good.

I work – a lot. It’s not an excuse. It’s my personal priority at this moment. Yes, there IS a difference. I am a mom. It’s not an excuse. It’s a priority and although I’m not having to deal with changing diapers and lack of sleep like a new mom, I do deal with the stress of having a son being deployed, not knowing where he is, what he’s doing, if he’s healthy, hurt, etc… and another son who is a teenager in that stage where he is going through some of life’s most difficult challenges. I’m still a mom. It is my priority. I am also a wife. It’s not an excuse. It is a priority. His job is dangerous – like REALLY dangerous. I stress out about that, too. And equally dangerous is the temptation of countless other women who throw themselves at him in hopes that he gives them the life they see us have. It’s an endless, daily struggle balancing, prioritizing, executing, conquering, failing and doing it all over again day after day. I’m a stress eater… see where I’m going with this???

Get to know yourself, what sets you off, what is the root cause of your unhealthy behaviors and find solutions that work for you to chip away little by little to make yourself better each day.

If I sound like you… a working woman, midlife, tons of stress seeking ways to live a longer, healthier, happier life, follow/join me. Let’s try to help each other out. No subscription, no monthly payment, no book to buy, no club to join, no magic powder to put in your meal replacement shake. This is me. Just me. Wanting to help you. All of you. In hopes that in the end, we just all help each other help each other.

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Back in the Saddle again

Posted in cycling, health & fitness, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by runmyssierun
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That moment you are forced to recon with the realization that AFTER your first ride back on the saddle, you forgot to use Butt Butter. Lesson learned 🙂

MY BUTT HURTS!!! My legs hurt! My back hurts! My shoulders hurt! My feet hurt! My tummy hurts! Even my dang earlobes hurt!!!! Can you tell I have re-entered my training program after a long, long, long, looooooonnnnngggg hiatus?

Honestly, it is so much harder to get back into training seriously after you’ve stopped the habit for so long. I will admit though… I do feel stronger. Maybe my body really did need a break to heal. Maybe, just maybe, this is a good thing.

This week, I went back to my roots. I did so because clearly the way I approached my health and fitness patterns worked the first time. Why wouldn’t they work this time, right?

I ran this week exactly like the very first time I ran. I went in the evening at sundown (so no one would be able to see and recognize me and judge me on how fat I had become or sloth-like slow) and began with a brisk walk for two blocks. After that, I jogged at a comfortable pace – withOUT my Garmin or runkeeper or Nike+ on – for as long as I could manage before I felt that my heart would beat too fast and/or my body would collapse… and then went just a bit further… you know, just to push myself and not feel too comfortable. Then I walked a good length until I balanced out my heart rate and ran to the next light pole. I ran. Not jogged comfortably. I ran. Then brisk walked to the next light pole. Then ran again and so on and so forth.  I did six miles like this. It took me longer than I expected but I did it and surprisingly… I really missed this in my life.

That’s been the farthest I’ve been able to do since my “episode” earlier this Spring.

My legs were so sore that night. When I cuddled under the covers in bed that evening to sleep, I couldn’t bare the pain. I took an ibuprofen in the middle of the night. Felt better and secretly wondered if some of that pain was actually cellulite being destroyed. He he he… I’ll take it if that’s what it means. 🙂

I wore flats the next day to work. Humbled and a bit ashamed of how out of shape I quickly became over the last few months. I have so much work to do on myself!!! But I know I can do it.

Following day: Stretch, yoga, plyometrics, the realization that I should never, ever, ever, ever stop being physically active. Ok, THAT was tough!

Today: I joined up with the Bicycle World Saturday morning ride. It is a casual 30-mile ride designed to be ridden for enjoyment at a comfortable pace. Ha! It may have been everyone else’s “recovery ride” for the week but this chick was putting everything she had into it trying to keep up with the gang. Shortly after the halfway marker, I bonked. I know I was dragging the whole group down with me. And I was super embarrassed about it.

I noticed goosebumps on my leg. I had been drinking water but now that I’m more attuned to  the way my body communicates with me, I knew it was signaling a request for electrolytes and hydration. I asked the group to pull into the next closest convenience store to pick up some cool Gatorade. They graciously stopped the ride to tend to my goosebumps. Seriously, cyclists are the nicest people ever.

Have you ever tried to interrupt someone during a crossfit workout? You’d get your lights punched out for that if you took seconds away from their time. But a cyclist, nu-uh. They understand the importance of the pack and what each individual needs because ultimately on rides like these in this area, we are better together. All I needed was some Gatorade.

And coffee

Ok, so it is what it is. I’ve never ridden with this group before for a few reasons… probably the most important reason was that there wasn’t a coffee shop along the ride course nor was there a coffee shop at the end of the ride.

The riders in the new group – whom I’ve never met before today – also obliged me with a cup of coffee at Moonbeans and some great conversation after the ride. Have I mentioned how friendly cyclists are???? I have? Ok, just making sure.

All in all… it’s been a great comeback week. I’ve tried to come back before and I think I pushed myself the wrong way, had the wrong motivation and/or didn’t have enough motivation or support or accountability. I had been seduced by old bad habits and excuses up the wazoo. I was mentally weak, spiritually lost and physically exhausted. I now feel stronger in all these aspects. I think it shows, too.

Eh. Maybe it was all good. Maybe my body needed the rest. Maybe I needed to really miss this part of my life so much that it took something like this week to bring it all back to me the right way.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad it happened. It feels great to be back! The soreness will eventually give way to smile in my heart.

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Thank you

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by runmyssierun
Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

It was September 3, 2011, when I had the “talk” with Sissy in her hospital room at MD Anderson. My brother had passed away April 11, just five months before, and my mother was a few floors down having Gamma ray surgery for tumors in her brain. Sissy’s neuropathy in her fingers had limited her hand functions so I was her hands that day feeding her tacos. (She didn’t like the hospital food and demanded breakfast tacos from the corner store)

“You should take up running” she said.

She saw my health deteriorating and I was the only one who didn’t have cancer and had absolutely no excuse to be as unhealthy as I was. She knew I would have to deal with the stress of losing three of my family members in a very short period of time. And it didn’t look like I was on my way towards handling it very well. For that, she worried.

A few weeks after she passed away, I started running.

She was right.

Running, combined with all the other great positive factors of my life, became the perfect therapy that was necessary to not go down the depression rabbit hole that consumes so many.

After a year of running marathons, I took up the sport of triathlon. The world of marathons and triathlons both became lifesaving tools for my physical and mental health. But even more important, let me be clear about WHY I DID THIS: 

Sissy wanted me to do this so that I could save myself. I agreed to do this so that I could help save others. The reality of it is that both occurred and continue to do so.

When I ran, I struggled tremendously. I was the heaviest I had been in my life (aside from being pregnant with my first born) and I was never an athlete in high school or college. Running with the extra weight on my body was really really difficult. It was a constant self defeating battle when I felt myself jiggle up and down and every which way and I wondered if everyone around me could see my boobs, belly and back fat try to do the macarena. I wondered if the world could hear me heaving up the trail gasping for breath. Could they hear the water slosh around in my stomach? Am I chaffing? My thighs would NOT let go of each other!!! My shorts would crumple up between my legs and it was sooooo embarrassing!!!

After a while, the vanity diminished. Every photograph of me had been posted for public scrutiny on social media. My sports bra had smushed my boobs into flat blobby pancakes that looked like they were trying to greet my belly button with a big bear hug. My lonja and cellulite made every effort to let the world know it was there all around me. And trust me… the community I live in is still small enough for everything to come back around to me. I won’t lie. All the hazing hurt and knowing who it came from hurt even more. But rather than focus on what I looked like or who was saying what, I focused on my accomplishment. THE FINISH LINE!!! THE MONEY I RAISED!!! THE AWARENESS I BROUGHT!!!

The life I may have helped save. 🙂

The level of local cancer awareness skyrocketed over the last few years. I would love to think my actions were a part of it. As a result, I think that this was the first part of the promise that was fulfilled. Awareness, prevention, detection and fundraising conversations were buzzing all around me. I was invited to attend this function and that fundraiser and begged to promote this organization and that event… and I did all that I could to attend and promote each and every one. It’s impossible to measure the level of success or how big of an impact these strides were. In my heart, this is what I am most proud of… especially when I was in Washington DC for LLS. If I could, I would love to do this full time for the rest of my life.

So when someone snickered about how I should be so much skinnier and so much faster with all the marathons that I did, I smiled and turned the other cheek.  Of course it hurt. That was their intention. But I realized that it was also their problem. My intention was different.

After an injury in my last marathon, I took up triathlon and learned how to swim and ride a bike. I also learned to look even more ridiculous than a middle aged chubby marathoner. Here’s a term that gives shivers down the spine of other women like me: TRI SUIT

ya… it’s like a horror story in seven letters.

Can it get worse? Absolutely! Try THIS term:  WET SUIT!!!

So why did I continue? Because, honestly, that was just about it for all the bad stuff. My cause was much bigger than the vanity of the above mentioned horrors.

Running 26.2 miles was physically one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Why? Because it was painful on my legs? No. Because I was forced to deal with the doubt in my head for 5 hours. I learned more about myself in the last four miles than I did my whole life.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

Cycling 108 miles up the mountains of Nevada was the most thrilling and sobering experience of my life. Climbing up that mountain on two wheels in the blistering desert heat in the dead of summer was physically taxing but the three sisters… wow… what a rush!!!

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And the biggest lesson I learned was in failure.. not being able to swim CapTexTri. It is through failure that you learn the most. I do think that my ego got involved and I should have dropped out of the race because of my health (I really did know better) so that this wouldn’t have happened. I became wrapped up in other people’s goals and lost sight of why I was doing what I was doing. I am grateful now for the feeling of defeat I experienced. It will make my triumph much sweeter at my next tri. For me.

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This may not be something that others experience but I am grateful I did. I had a spiritual awakening from within me while doing all of this. I connected to a silent and vital part of me that impacted my emotional well being.

Once you conquer the fear, see past the vanity, tame the ego and allow yourself the opportunity to experience genuine happiness at the same time helping someone else without expectation of that person doing anything in return for you or even knowing who you are… that right there is living life to it’s fullestat least it is for me.

The above was all about the cause (cancer) and the physical sports (marathon and triathlon). But let’s be honest… most everyone out here is still most interested in WEIGHT LOSS and “thinspiration”…. you know.. looking like a Victoria Secret Angel. How much weight can I lose? What’s the secret to losing weight overnight?

There is no secret. It is consistent hard work with an awesome playlist and great friends by your side.

ME Before and After

ME
Before and After

So it’s pictures like THIS that garner more attention than anything else. I understand. Believe me I do. I was never obese when I was young nor was I an athletic jock. I was a regular kid that, because of the times, was out the door at sunrise and was expected to be home at the dinner table at 5:30pm every day. I walked the senderos at the ranch, played on the beach, rode around for hours on my “Miss Daisy” banana seat bike around our hood, I was in ballet and girl scouts and in high school I joined the dance team… I did stuff. I was active. And that kept me healthy enough to be …. average.

My family didn’t have a lot of money and never really went to lavish vacations or gave each other grand gifts. We celebrated each other and holidays with feasts of food. Over time, I guess it made an impact on my mental state and I associated food with happiness and family.

So when I learned that my baby brother was depressed and miles away from me, my mother was battling cancer and miles away from me getting treatment and Sissy was with her doing the same thing, and I was having terrible issues with a woman at work and my husband was either working over time or was in another State for work… Worried, sad and lonely, I turned to food to fill the void of happiness with family.

I gained an incredible amount of weight. I hid from society and feared it’s rejection. I promise you, you’ve never seen more elastic waistbands in your life than what was in my closet. It was velour yoga track suit heaven that never saw the inside of a gym.

All this changed quickly while on my quest to fulfill Sissy’s promise. I didn’t lose 45 pounds over night but in three months of consecutive walk/jog workouts, a visible difference was blatantly obvious. And not just in the way my clothes fit. The smile came back on my face as well. My attitude became more positive. Everything about me was… nicer. My confidence in myself was restored. But caution: there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. And unless you conquer the demons that control your desire to look a certain way, be a certain size, weigh a certain number… and you achieve it… what then? When you step back and take a look at what unhealed insecurities, greed and jealousy do to a mind, you see poison. Be careful of the wolf that you feed. We all have both within us.

One year and a half after running and triathlon training allowed me to mix things up in my workouts. My body got used to doing the same thing over and over again and began to plateau easily. I got used to the incredible shrinking Myssie and the compliments that came with it. Intensifying the workout by increasing speed or distance was a quick fix for that plateau.. but it also took the fun out of all that I was doing and began to feed the green monster of competition that lives inside me and those I was close to at the time. My green monster is a powerful creature. It took my focus away from my goal, away from my promise… and for this, I am so very very sorry Sissy.

This is not what she wanted for me.

Certainly, this was not what Momma wanted for me either.

I came to a time in my life where I was able to see all my mistakes, all that I could have been, all that I could be.. and the cost associated with each. I am now at a very sobering moment where I can accept that I cannot change my past but I can still mold my future and the future of my priorities.

I watched a movie recently about a man who was able to travel back in time. He used that gift not to make him rich but to go back and spend more time with his dad who died of cancer. Even though in present time, his father had passed away, he could go back and ask him for guidance and advice or just play a game of ping pong or walk the beach with him.

So there I was, laying down sprawled across the couch with “About Time” playing on the big screen TV above me, blubbering like a fool as memories raced across my head trying desperately to figure out which point to go back to. Would it be the time we were coloring Easter eggs around the kitchen table? Would it be hearing her sing “The Girl from Ipanema” while Daddy played the song on the piano? Would it be the time when she was driving me home at midnight from Fiesta’s night parade in San Antonio and we were talking, laughing and singing all the way home until I threw up because of all the lollipops I ate that day? Would it be the afternoon of my wedding day, getting dressed in her bedroom? Would it be making s’mores with the girl scouts while camping at Bentsen Park? Or just cuddling up with her on the bed while she read her book night after night? Would it be the time we went to watch Eric Clapton in concert and she reached over to hold my hand when he sang this song?

And whatever moment I chose to go back to, what would she have advised me to do when asking her about how to deal with those people who were always so mean, vindictive, jealous, etc? Am I a good mom? Am I giving people good advice? Is what I’m doing making the difference I intended? Do I keep the job I love or take the one that pays more? I’m worried about Dad. What can I do? How do I know if I’m doing the right thing?

“Oh baby, all I can tell you is that when I had those questions and my mother wasn’t there anymore, I prayed and gave it to God” she said.

I’m really trying.
I’m really trying.
Get down low.
Total defeat.
I’m tired.
Thanks, Dad.
So I’m almost
up-to-date with my story.
As all families do,
we got used to life after death.
And it was still fine.
And things settled back into their
traditional rhythms season after season,
and are much as they have always been.
And we’ve got used to
Kit Kat being happy again.
And then we got used to her being a mum.
Albeit not a very good or even safe one.
And in the end,
I think I’ve learned the final
lesson from my travels in time.
And I’ve even gone one step
further than my father did.
Okay, I’ll do the kids.
No, don’t worry. I’ll do them.
Yeah, you do them, you lazy bum.
The truth is, I now don’t
travel back at all.
Not even for the day.
I just try to live every day as if
I’ve deliberately come back to this one day
to enjoy it as if it was the full final day
of my extraordinary, ordinary life.
Hello, you’re down already. That’s great.
Thank you so much for that.
And in we go.
Posy? Posy!
That’s fine.
We’re all travelling through time together
every day of our lives.
All we can do is do our best
to relish this remarkable ride.
Yes, yes, yes…
Okay, I’ll see you then.
Bye-bye.
See you later. (quoted from the script of About Time – 2013)

Thank you Momma and Sissy.

Thank you Donny via Foo Fighters. Thank you Xavie for more reasons than you’ll ever know. Thank you to my sons for cheering me on and teaching me to swim and joining me in so many local 5ks. Thank you sponsors, your funds went to help someone struggling to make a co-payment, get gas money to drive to MD Anderson, catch a flight for emergency treatment, hide a bald spot and best of all, give hope. Thank you to my team members, fellow athletes and all my coaches for the time pounding the pavement, donated gear, words of advice and free tire changing services. I am forever grateful.

Thank you.

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