Project Me Days 1 and 2 – Baby Steps

1200 calories and 90 grams of protein. That is my goal each day. When I was told this I laughed…1200 calories? Good luck! I obstinately decided it was impossible and avoided using the food tracking app, MyFitnessPal, that we were all told to use so we could tell us just how well we were or were not doing. That was for the first day at least. This morning I decided I might as well try it. What could it hurt? Right? Turns out I don’t even have to change how I eat and I am still under 1200 calories. Clearly it is the alcohol and pizza that has been my downfall. Guess who gets to be designated driver from now on!! This girl! Guess whose bank account will be appreciative! Silver lining and all that.

But that is the boring part. At least it is to me because I have been a pretty clean eater for some years now and actually like fruits and veggies and lean meat. (SPINACH IS MY LIFE!!) The super fun part of all of this so far has been keeping my morale up. Super. Fun. You see, we are supposed to start a fitness regime to go alone with our clean and healthy eating and yesterday was not easy. Around seven o’clock I had a complete breakdown and found myself in the fetal position on my bed, crying because I felt like I couldn’t do it. I have been able to motivate myself before but in that moment I just felt completely defeated by…well…myself.

“No matter how hard you work it won’t make any difference. You will fail.” I said.

The little voice in my head replied with, “If you don’t try you definitely will fail.”

“So why even try?”

“Because you can do it. It will make a difference. You’ve done it before.”

And slowly, after over an hour of fighting with the voice in my head, I decided that I might as well get my ass off the bed, put on my old running clothes and try this whole fitness thing again. After all, I thought, exercise releases endorphins and that couldn’t be a bad thing when I was feeling particularly low and depressed. So, on went my running shoes, in went my ear buds, and to the park I ran.

Even several years ago when I was running (mostly walking) every day it took me months to build up the stamina to run more than a minute.  I think I got up to 12 minutes (not on a treadmill – I got up to an hour on that bitch but being indoors is not my thing so I tended to stick with the sidewalk; it is much cheaper than a gym membership, after all!) at one point but it only took a few months of not running to completely lose all my stamina and start from square one. Talk about defeating!

Given that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to run for very long at all and instead decided on a brisk walk to warm up and then running until I couldn’t breath, walking until I could again, and then running again. I figured it was better than nothing, right? But no sooner had I reached the park then I realized that my left hip, the hip that I believe has a labral tear in it but I am too stubborn to see a doctor about, was beginning to protest. “Sara…you ass,” it intoned over and over. I knew this would happen, though. Walking causes pain on a good day so running would be no better. But, me being me, I retorted with, “If I can survive a broken foot without even knowing about it, then I can survive this.” We had a good laugh and continued on our journey with the help of Mickey Avalon in our ears. Because listening to a white guy rap about sex, drugs, and alcohol is surprisingly motivating. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

Once I headed into the park and crossed the creeks bridge I thought I was possibly pushing myself too hard because I started to see lights. Lots of them. And every time I would try to look at them they would disappear. I stopped running and took some deep breaths before realizing how much of an idiot I was. Lightning bugs. They were lightning bugs, folks. It took a lot of strength not to go chasing after them – I’m the person who considers chasing after a squirrel…while driving. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE SO CUTE!! This one time I almost hopped a curb accidentally trying to follow two that were chasing each other. You should hear what happens when I see a butterfly! Moving on…

As I exited the park and headed home I decided to stare at my feet and therefore accidentally ran straight through a swarm of gnats and swallowed a mouthful (can I add those to my protein count?) as a sign that distractions were not a good thing while running. Head high, Sara. Head high. And so I continued, for forty minutes I switched between jogging and walking through my neighborhood and it felt good. I even scared a guy into crossing the street when he saw me. Me with my neon orange running shoes, electric blue jacket, and black cap. I’m hood like that. Holla!

The best part about running my first day? I only tripped once! About a block from home. I call that winning!! And since day one was such a success I decided to up the ante and actually start my training for the 5k I am supposed to be doing in September. Oh the wonder of apps these days!! Turns out the first day of training involves intervals of 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. I totally knew that. That’s why I did it the first day. Yep. Like a boss!

Stay tuned for more wonderful tales of the adventures of focusing on yourself for a change! Also, in case you were wondering, the voice in my head and I are currently not speaking. I hate being wrong. I hate it even more when I also happen to be right at the same time. As if life isn’t confusing enough…

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Live Out Loud! – Project Me

Tonight I attended my first Project Me meeting and quite honestly I have not been so nervous in quite awhile.  On the forty minute drive to the meeting I oscillated from excited to downright terrified.  I almost turned around twice on the highway and then, after getting lost and then having to circle the block four times before 1) finding the meeting place, and 2) finding a parking spot, I had nearly convinced myself to turn around and head back home.  But then my good sense kicked in and I figured if I had already spent all that time finding the damn place I might as well go in.  I did pay to do this after all…why waste the money, right? Right.

So what is Project Me? Well that you can find out on their website which will explain it much better than I can, I’m sure. I discovered it through Facebook right about the time that my fiancée became my ex-fiancée and I was feeling rather low due to the circumstances that caused me to have to break it off. Sometimes doing what you know is right for you is the most difficult thing you can do. Many tears were shed and a pint or two of Ben and Jerry’s were consumed until I was finally able to look at myself in the mirror and remember that I deserved to focus on myself for a change. And that’s when Project Me showed on my Facebook feed. How appropriate, no?

I decided to sign up telling myself that I would finally get the body I had always desired since, as some of you may know, I was a size 16 while in high school and, even though over the years I have been able to shrink down to a size 4 by eating right and exercising I still only felt pretty good about myself. Because then it became a completely different game and I decided to add anorexia to my list of things to hate about myself and shrunk down to a size 0 resulting in a loss of all muscle mass and most of my mental health. I was unhealthy, unhappy, and still hated how I looked.

Over time I was able to get back to a comfortable size 4 but still did not like my appearance. Still don’t. No matter what I do I can’t look in the mirror and be proud of all the work I have done to get the body I have. Joining Project Me was initially about my body but it has since become about loving myself. That may seem odd seeing as how it is a program about getting into the shape you want to be in and making healthy decisions but for me it is so much more.

You see I am an incredibly shy person which means joining a program where I have to attend meetings and make it known on social media that I am a participant scares the ever loving shit out of me. At the meeting tonight I was so nervous I was sweating. Me and sweat only meet upon interaction with a warm day and a decent amount of sun. Normally I am perpetually cold and have been since about 20 years old but tonight my sweat glands were on over drive and my heart was about to beat out of my chest.

When I first walked into the room I was met with a small crowd of ladies that all looked like they had just stepped out of a catalog while I stood there in my yoga pants and my favorite baggy off-the-shoulder shirt that has an unfortunate stain on the front that will not come off no matter how much I try to get rid of it. Just like in high school I felt like the outsider and I once again considered turning around and making the long trek back home but reminded myself of why I was doing this and stood my ground.

Why was I doing this? Because, while I have no problem making a complete fool out of myself or going up to perfect strangers and striking up a conversation, I have a serious issue with letting others know that I am trying to improve myself. I am embarrassed to have joined this program. Not because I don’t think it is a good program, but because I feel like I need to apologize to people for doing something for myself when I should be happy with the body I have and the person I am. I mean, recently I have been informed that I am wonderful, amazing, and perfect even. I am adored. But I don’t feel that way about me. And I would like to. So yes, maybe part of this process is about changing my body for the better, but what I know I will get from it is so much more.

Even though I felt as though I was beneath all the ladies in the room, every time I would look around I would be met with a smile. The only person in the room who was judging me, was me. And that realization hit hard. The only person that doesn’t seem to like me, is me. How do I fix this? By doing something that scares me. One something that combines a whole slew of my biggest fears. The best (or possibly worst if you are me and scared of letting people know the things you do for yourself because you are afraid they will make fun of you or guilt you out of doing it because they don’t think you need to be doing it) part of all of this is that I will be held accountable because all the ladies will be in this with me and it is actually a requirement to post on social media that you are doing something for yourself and trying to make a healthy change in your life. I actually have to let people know what’s going on in my life for a change. Only I would find this difficult. Because let me tell you, when the coach uttered the words “live out loud” I about had a heart attack.  I felt my heart skip a beat. Live out loud? You mean…like…tell people stuff? I have a handful of friends that I am very close with and even THEY don’t know I’m doing this.

Being the writer that I am I decided that the least embarrassing way to let the world know the journey I am starting out on was to publish it on my public blog. I make so much sense, it’s ridiculous. Cheers to the future. May I come out on the other end with confidence and…other qualities that are appropriate but that I can’t even come up with! Seriously…I need this.

25 Things You Never Cared To Know About Me…You’re Welcome

Recently Brain posted a note on Facebook where you are supposed to write 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about yourself and then tag 25 people and hope that they will write stuff about themselves and you will all get to know each other better. Now, if I were still in college I would jump on this because I actually had friends back then but, unfortunately, time has passed and I am less than fruitful in the friend department. However, the friends that I do have are more than enough because, well, I have fantastic taste and they are all fucking amazing! Also, the likelihood that anybody else would write 25 things is so close to unlikely that I didn’t care to even try…at least not on Facebook. You lucky, lucky blog readers of mine will instead be the recipient of these 25 oh-so-intriguing facts about me that will leave you wondering why you wasted your precious time reading about a person you don’t even know.

But if you feel yourself unable to stop now that you have started I will attempt to make it worth your time. I mean, who knows, one day I may be über famous and reading this blog may make you privy to all you need to know about your new favorite celebrity! A girl can dream…

1. You know how people always have that one thing they collect? That one thing that you have to restrain yourself from buying when you’re at the store because you either already have enough of said item or don’t have the monetary resources available to fill your need? Mine happens to be batteries. And, no, dirty toys have nothing to do with my dire need to possess obscenely large amounts of batteries in all shapes and sizes. Every time I walk past a shelf of batteries I either slow down or stop and stare at them, contemplating whether or not the world might end if I don’t buy THAT economy pack of batteries. That one. Right there! IT NEEDS ME!!

2. Many of you may already know that I love cars and intend to own my own fleet of them upon reaching my inevitable fame but what most people don’t know is that being a mechanic is my ultimate dream job. I love working with my hands, fixing things, and getting dirty and that all fits together quite nicely as a mechanic! That and the ability to be around cars all day would make me one very happy lady!

3. I’m the annoying person that can walk up to a jigsaw puzzle, pick up a piece, and put it exactly where it is supposed to go. My sister finds it rather irritating, I happen to find it amusing.

4. If I had to choose one thing to wear for the rest of my life it would be lingerie and high heels. They make me feel pretty, and what girl doesn’t want to feel pretty? PLUS! Who doesn’t want to witness their wife cooking in heels, lingerie, and an apron (for sanitary reasons). I mean, hello! That way you don’t have to make dessert!

5. I prefer to use plastic utensils to actual silverware. At least when at home.

6. I think ice cream tastes better when eaten with a fork…but not a plastic fork. You can’t feel the cold on the plastic.

7. I love cupcakes but don’t like cake. There is something about it being tiny and perfect and…Sara sized that makes me incredibly happy. Eating them leaves me content.

8. While being a mechanic is my dream job there are several other jobs I would like to try out just to say I did it. If I could have a new job every few months I would be satisfied. A few jobs I would like to add to my resume are window washer, landscaper, mail woman, florist, photographer’s assistant, bar tender, baker, emcee, teacher, lumberjack, park ranger, delivery driver, magazine editor, librarian, barista, dog walker, and maid. Seriously, these are all careers I have taken into consideration over the years. There are many more on the list but those are the most random ones.

9. I’m kind of a pyro. I love playing with fire and I have been known to just stare at fire for hours at a time. I’m not weird, I swear!

10. I often fantasize about selling all my possessions, getting in my car, and living out of my car while driving around the country doing odd jobs to sustain myself as I explore the world!

11. Feet creep me out. When people try to touch me with their feet I start to hyperventilate. And when I inform certain mean people of this (Mr. Perfect) they enjoy doing it at every opportunity.

12. Generally I don’t like new things. When it was brought to my attention that my sister didn’t want to give me back my couch once I moved out of the house I almost threw a fit. Both she and my mother decided I could buy a new one and neither could understand my unusual attachment to MY couch. When I told mom I didn’t want a new couch because they smelled funny and were too fluffy and didn’t have character her response was, “you are the character.” True, but not the point. My favorite piece of furniture is my dad’s old recliner because it isn’t too fluffy, in fits me, and doesn’t smell like new…ness. The other thing people ask me about is Jorma…just because he isn’t perfect doesn’t mean I need to trade him in for a new car! I like him. I like all the broken and annoying things. He wouldn’t be Jorma without them!

13. I will never be satisfied with the amount of books I own because there will always be more I could have. I’m insatiable I tell you! I WANT MORE!

14. As much as I love (am obsessed with) my shoes I prefer being barefoot.

15. I have both slept and “showered” in Jorma when I have gone on solo road trips. The sleeping part I’m sure you can imagine but the showering part is more interesting. All you need is paper towels, baby wipes, and a bottle of water…I was even able to shave my legs. Impressed? Cause I was! I would have done all this in the rest stop bathroom but that idea was rather fleeting because while on the toilet I looked up at the stall door to see a large, leggy bug roughly the size of my head staring back at me. I suddenly no longer had to pee, pulled up my shorts and looked back up to see a bug free door. So now, not only was I aware that there were gigantic, potentially man eating bugs in the world, I was also aware that that particular one was running around unfettered in the bathroom, probably plotting it’s next grisly murder.

16. I am nearly incapable of cuddling. My boy is all about cuddling and he tries to get me to do it all. The. Time. Most recently I annoyed him by asking questions such as, “what are you thinking about?” His response was “you” so I kept asking questions. Finally I asked if we were done and he laughed saying, “you couldn’t relax if you wanted to right now.” Very true, I must admit. I am also almost completely incapable of relaxing…While we’re on the subject. Idleness is not my forte. So, I looked at my phone and congratulated myself on cuddling for a full 13 minutes.

17. I have been known to pay more attention to college football than…say…my significant other. Why men get upset about this is beyond me!

18. I have an imaginary unicorn named Francis. And that’s really all you need to know about that!

19. I am almost incapable of holding a grudge. I may despise my exes for a bit but…we all know how well that goes. I always end up keeping in touch with them no matter what they’ve done. I just believe in people too mcuh.

20. I thoroughly enjoy reading the dictionary. Yes. Reading.

21. I cannot stand the cacophonous din of a single item dropping in an otherwise quiet room. Drives me insane. It is my version of nails on a chalkboard.

22. I have an insanely high tolerance for pain. I once almost broke my foot in half and didn’t know it. The only reason I found out was because I fractured my left heel so they took x-rays of both feet to compare them and my doctor asked me when I had broken my right foot. When I told him I hadn’t he laughed and slapped the x-ray up and pointed at the large triangular chunk of bone that was no longer in its correct place. How I didn’t notice that I will never know.

23. I recently joined a softball league and I was put in left field and was so distracted by the birds out there that I forgot to pay attention to the game. Needless to say, team sports are not my thing. Probably why I did gymnastics and golf growing up. Those were safe. When a ball is making a line drive at your head you can hear it coming and just have to duck. No attention is really needed for that.

24. I will change the world. I am determined to make a difference no matter how big or small.

25. It takes me roughly two to four weeks to finish a pint of ice cream. I tend to forget about it. When I buy anything larger it will be completely forgotten about and go bad. I didn’t used to know this was poasible…I am so well aware of it now.

Okay…There you go. That actually took me several months to write. Who knew coming up with 25 things about yourself would be so difdicult?!?! Thanks for sticking with me to the end! If you did, that is. If you didn’t, well, I appreciate the effort regardless….not that you will know how much I appreciate you since you left but…whatever. I still love you!!

And I’m done.

Butterfly, fly away

She was once a beautiful butterfly who wore her vibrant colors without shame. She spent her days with all the beautiful flowers and spoke with all the wonderful creatures. She was happy. But she always knew something was missing. Knew there was more. But she was willing to wait; to wait for what was missing to come around.

butterfly cageAnd one day he did. And he loved her. And she loved him.

He loved her so much he had to put her in a cage, he said.

“Why?” She asked. “Why do I need a cage?”

“Because you are so beautiful and wonderful. Someone might steal you.”

He cares about me, she thought. He worries someone might hurt me. He loves me.

“May I leave the cage?” She asked.

“No,” he told her. “You might not come back.”

“I will!” She promised. “I love you.” She reminded him.

And after many promises and weeks of convincing, he let her out. But her flowers were no longer there and the creatures were upset with her.

“Where did you go?” One asked.

“Why did you leave without saying goodbye?”  Wondered another.

“We thought we were your friends?”

Ashamed she returned to her cage. To the man who loved her. Her heart was broken but she knew he would still be there. He would still love her. And love her he did. So much so that he refused to let her leave because he didn’t want her to get hurt again.

“Aren’t I enough for you?” He asked. “Why do you need to leave me? You have a perfect home here.”

But she wanted to fly again. She missed the sun and the flowers and the creatures. She loved him but she loved flying, too. What is a butterfly without flight? She was beginning to lose her color, this she knew.  And if she wasn’t as beautiful surely he wouldn’t love her. And he must love her, for who else did she have now?

Seeing that she was sad he gave her a gift. It smelled of flowers and the flame danced around throwing shadows around the cage, ghosts of the friends she once shared her days with. So she filled her days with shadow play while he was away. And he was always away. Soon the flame became her only friend.

As her colors faded the flame grew brighter. And soon the days were colder and she got closer and closer to the flame until one day she got too close. And when he finally came back she was gone.

She had gone where everyone has wings and the colors were more vibrant than she ever imagined. And she would remember how to be happy again.

A Forbidden Love

I was part of his atmosphere before I knew where my feet were taking me. We stood there. Silent. Our only communication had ever been through exchanged glances. First of curiosity, then of desire, finally of mutual understanding. Months would pass between each steady hold of each others eyes but the energy was palpable always causing the hairs on the back of my neck to raise up as though a shock of electricity was shooting through the room.

He was who he was and I? I was with someone. My heart promised to a man I barely knew but couldn’t let go. Yet here I was, so close to him that I could see the tiny beads of sweat breaking out over his skin. We had never been this close before and neither of us knew what to do. So we continued to stand. Silent. Our senses electrified by our proximity. Never had I felt so passionately about anything that I could put no name to. What was this? My heart threatened to beat so wildly out of my chest that it almost met with his.  Suddenly I was a fawn just learning to walk and he was the only thing keeping me upright, yet also the one causing me to be so weak and disoriented. I close my eyes and for a moment and the entire world consists of just us two. Our hearts beat in unison, a sound so loud it muted out the cacophony of the room and I can no longer tell where I begin and he ends.

You fill your life with lies that you convince yourself are truths and you shroud yourself in them, wearing them proudly, pretending to bear your soul to the world through a diaphanous curtain of lies perfectly sculpted into illusions of truth. No matter which direction you look at them from you are tricked into seeing something that isn’t there. You convince yourself so thoroughly of love that you can’t decipher what it is hiding. What is your illusion obscuring from you? What is it that is pulling at your heart? What is it that is causing a glint of truth to shine through and dance off of all the rough corners of your lies that you believed to have hidden so well?

“You can’t.” He whispers almost imperceptibly to the point that I wonder if he actually said anything.

But that was it, wasn’t it? That was the reason we wear our lies so comfortably; because all we need is one ray of truth to shine its beauty onto our rough cut lies and dazzle us as it dances across our bodies hiding the imperfections and alighting all the wonderfully manufactured “truths”. For so long I had desired to rid myself of my shroud and as I stood there, completely encased by his warmth, I knew this was my moment.

My eyes open and, breathlessly, I kiss him. An almost imperceptible moan betrays him, letting years of built up wonder escape into the time we can’t occupy. The life we will never have. The love we so long to have but will never be able to hold on to. I continue the kiss for as long as I can but what still feels like no time at all. As soon as our lips part my ears are assaulted by the raucousness of the room. His face fills my vision as my shroud falls down around us, shards of lies and truths shattering onto the floor, glinting in the light – a beauty so vicious you don’t realize the pain until you have been released from it.

I stand there naked as his face disappears into the crowd; from behind I hear my name called.  I turn around, a single tear escaping to join the ruins on the floor. With one single glance he saw me. He finally saw me. And before I even had time to take one step he, too, was gone.

Naked and alone I left. I left behind everything I had worked so hard to make myself in to; I left behind the only person who had ever seen me; and I left behind a love that was so superficial I often wondered if I was simply making it up. And now the world could see me. Every part of me. Broken free by the kiss of the one who knew the forbidden freedom of loving yourself. Because loving yourself was the most forbidden love of them all.

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