Give More Of Yourself

I think we can all agree that it’s pretty much the norm to live our lives only for ourselves. We do this within our relationships and ESPECIALLY outside of them. We want things for ourselves and pretty much operate solely for that purpose. My church has been doing a series called “Not Normal” and through this series it’s challenged us all to think about what is normal in society and challenge us all to be “Not Normal.”

Philippians 2:4

I was trying to think of ways I’m NOT normal and I think when it comes to selfishness and selflessness I’m more of the latter in many ways but there’s ALWAYS room for improvement. I find I’m mostly selfless when it comes to the people I care most about. I will sacrifice myself tenfold to let those people closest to me have what they want and make those people happy. Sometimes I think this is a little bit of a bad thing (when it’s in excess and I forget I have needs too), but it’s just who I am and largely part of the way I grew up. The thing is, I need to learn how to use that part of myself and branch out and do more for people I don’t necessarily know that well or even for complete strangers. I want to be that thoughtful type of person. I want to be NOT normal in that way.

I just thought about all this as I was busying myself finishing up a crochet project I’m making as a gift for someone special. The amount of time, effort, thought and love I have put into this project and the thought of giving it to the person I made it for just fills me with this intense JOY. Ever noticed that? When you give to others and see the difference you’ve made or the smile you put on someone’s face doesn’t it give you joy in return? There are a lot of people in the world who are feeling unfulfilled in their lives and are maybe even chasing after the wrong things trying to find fulfillment. Interesting that all we have to do is give a little of ourselves back in order to receive it! We all have something to give. It could be money, time, special skills/talents or maybe just a little bit of love or even a smile or an encouraging word. I think we’d all find that in giving OF ourselves instead of TO ourselves we will find more contentment in our own lives!

So I think that’s going to be one of my Challenges for 2014. I’m going to challenge myself to be “Not Normal” and try to find ways I can give more of myself to others this year!

Christmas Fluff

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Surprise surprise! ‘Tis the season of busy schedules, right? As much as I love the Holiday Season, I am ready to finish up 2013 and start 2014 off and kick back into gear health-wise. Last year I managed to keep up semi-daily workouts while I was consuming all the unhealthy holiday goodies I was eating but this year.. I didn’t do so well. It’s not really that I ate an abundance of unhealthy things but the stress of the season got me good. Between holiday shopping, personal stress and planning for the future, oh boy, my emotional eating came back in full force. Emotional eating has always been one of the biggest struggles for me even as far back as when I was a kid in Elementary school. It makes it doubly hard when you’re surrounded by all the unhealthy comfort foods and I have a HUGE sweet tooth which makes all the yummy baked Christmas goods all the more tempting!

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All that eating wouldn’t be so bad, though, if I had kept up daily workouts. Confession: I didn’t! I think I maybe gained a pound per week the last 3-4 weeks. And thus.. CHRISTMAS FLUFF is born! But it’s ok! Because a new year is on the Horizon and I plan to get rid of the extra fluff that I’ve amassed over the last month. I even set up a Facebook Accountability group to help combat the evil unhealthy temptations this season brings. SO MUCH FOR THAT! I completely embarrassed myself as a good role model. Hehe!

Anyway, now is the time of year where everyone gets amped up about getting healthier. They set those New Years Resolutions and renew gym memberships! The trick is being one of the few that not only achieve those healthy resolutions but adopt them as a way of life. Don’t just set a resolution to set one, make a decision to make a LIFE change. The evil temptation of the holidays are (almost) behind us, time to get back on track and get back in action.

So I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and are gearing up for the best year yet! Let me know if you shared in something delicious and evilly tempting during the Holiday Season. Where are my fellow sweet toothers at?

Invisibility & Inner Beauty

When I first started my healthy lifestyle one of the biggest things I had to change was work lunches. I, like many others, work on a street filled with nothing but fast food / unhealthy restaurants. Previously a typical week at work would consist of lunches from McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and maybe Subway or takeout from the Italian restaurant across the street. So out of those options, the healthiest go-to was Subway. So when I made the change, if I didn’t bring my own lunch, I would usually hit up Subway once or twice a week and get a Turkey sandwich with lots of veggies. We went there so often, we formed a friendly relationship with the management there. Hands down the best Subway in this city mainly because the family that manages it are really great people!

At some point, I stopped going to Subway so often. I opted for bringing in my own lunch every day and making my own turkey sandwiches at home. In fact, I think up until this week, it’s been several months since I even stepped foot inside that Subway. The other day, upon discovering someone had tossed the food I had left in the fridge over the weekend that I planned to eat for lunch, I got treated to Subway. I walked in and the manager’s jaw dropped. He joked that I could probably start eating unhealthy food again now and that I had completely changed. My Dad told him I had lost a total of 101 pounds and he joked and said that I used to be a “roly poly” and was talking about how unfortunate it is but that a lot of the world judges by appearances alone and then started grabbing his employees to tell them how much weight I had lost and that he remembered when “roly poly” came in to Subway before that. I almost wanted to be offended by being referred to as “roly poly” but I just laughed it off because I know he wasn’t trying to offend me or hurt my feelings but also because I’m proud that I no longer can be referred to as “roly poly” or any other similar term.

Proverbs 31:30

The entire situation got me thinking, though. It’s interesting having both perspectives now: the perspective of a person who is obese/overweight and that of someone who isn’t. I was really lucky even when I was obese because I was never really subjected to any teasing, bullying or anything like that and despite being unhappy with my physical appearance, I had found far more value in the person who I was underneath. My friends and family (for the most-part) never treated me any differently and for that I am extremely grateful. I think because of that I never really paid attention to how I was perceived by those around me but now I know I’m so much more aware of how being obese makes you invisible. The ironic thing is that the more weight you shed (and less space you take up), the more visible you seemingly become to the people in the world. I’m not just talking about getting more attention from the opposite sex, which is certainly true, but overall people are more likely to interact with you when you weigh less. I never was aware of just how shallow the world can be until after I lost weight and it really is a shame because I know there are so many wonderful people who are overlooked and ignored because they maybe aren’t “beautiful” by the world’s impossible standards. I wish more understood that beauty is only skin deep. If only certain people could have a Shallow Hal type of revelation.

That entire day was definitely a motivating day for me. Nothing is more motivating than when people you barely know or people you don’t know at all approach you and let you know how great you look. It’s been years in the making but that will never get old! Sometimes weeks go by and I feel like I haven’t made any progress but when things like that happen, it makes me realize that even if the change is small and unnoticeable to me, it doesn’t mean that change still isn’t happening. On Monday, Will and I both started the same workout program: Focus T25 which is pretty much kicking both of our behinds. His more than mine, which makes me feel pretty awesome. Bwaha! I expect as this process goes on, I’ll probably be gaining some muscle weight, but that just means losing inches. I’ll definitely be posting my results as I go through the program.