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Long time coming.

The past two months have been a bit of a rollercoaster, both physically and emotionally. Since early May, I stopped training with my cousin and also haven’t been eating all too well, I’ve received news that I still have a material hormonal imbalance, I flew (for the first time in five years) to Vegas for a Bachelorette party, started playing softball again, got into a verbal argument at a volleyball match, I had a few rounds of physical anxiety, my boss had a baby, I took over the day-to-day trading operations at my firm, started stress eating, and most recently (between yesterday and today) my family has had issues with our next-door neighbors. It is a lot of stuff, I will try to make it all make sense.

Since January I trained with my cousin, who is a certified personal trainer. We stopped, temporarily, training in May because he was going on a trip and then that eventually became permanent because my work schedule became completely erratic and I couldn’t commit to specific times. As of result of not having my cousin and his sessions to motivate me and my new work schedule, I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit. I did however join a new gym and have at least been going once per week. I went today and I’m hoping to go more this week, but I haven’t been that great at being consistent. My diet has been pretty crappy as well as I’m basically stress eating at work, which I will explain later. Hopefully this is my week though, I need to get into a groove.

Midway through May I got the results back from a saliva test that I performed over the course of the month of April. The results were packaged and sent out to a lab in Washington State and my naturopathic doctor received the results. She called me up in the middle of the month and we scheduled an appointment. At that visit, she told me that I still have a progesterone shortage, otherwise known as estrogen dominance. I’ve been off of the pill for almost fifteen months now and I have gotten a lot better. My estrogen levels have normalized now, but my body has not been able to raise my progesterone levels naturally, which has thrown off my periods, caused PMS, and I also have been told that at my current level, I’d have a hard time conceiving a child and if I did conceive, I’d have a hard time carrying the pregnancy to term. Needless to say, I was speechless. I thought that my body has had enough time to heal on its own and regulate my hormones once more. However, that’s clearly not the case and not only that, but now I’m facing potential fertility issues. The good part is that I’m on a progesterone supplement program for the entire summer and hopefully that will help to raise my level.

In a short note, I went out to Las Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party. This was a huge deal for me as I have not been on a plane in five years and more importantly than that, I wasn’t sure as to how I’d react to flying with my anxiety. I will admit that I took a 0.25 mg Xanax during takeoff on the flight there and home, but beyond that it was fine and I actually enjoyed myself on the airplanes. It sounds silly, but this was a big accomplishment for me.

At the beginning of June, softball started and I’m on a new team. All of the ladies are fantastic and I’m having a lot of fun. I still play volleyball as well but it hasn’t been all fun and games recently. I play on a co-ed team and there is one man on my team who is constantly trying to move me around and control my play simply because I’m female. Well eventually I became fed up with him and at a game a few weeks ago I called him out. He claimed that he was trying to help the team out and even tried to guilt me by saying that he respects women and his mother is dead. Really? I’m sorry your mother is dead but I don’t think that she has anything to do with volleyball. Case closed. We recently played together this past Thursday actually and barely spoke to each other, but that’s OK. We played well together on the court and that’s all that matters.

In the middle of June, I had major anxiety. I wasn’t sure if it was a side effect of the Xanax in my system, stress from work, or both. I’m thinking that it was a combination of both. I didn’t have a full-blown panic attack, thank God, but still, I did feel defeated that I reacted so badly to my thoughts.

Literally a few days after my mini-breakdown my boss gave birth to her son, which then put me in charge of the daily trading operations at my firm. Needless to say I was nervous then and I’m still a little nervous now. I’m two weeks into this experience and it’s been quite eye-opening. I’ve been able to prove to myself that I’m able to handle this job and it has also helped to spark a fire in me and reignite my interest in the stock market and finance in general. However with all of that positivity, I have started to stress eat. I visit the snack closet multiple times a day to help calm myself down when I get nervous at work. This is a terrible way to relieve stress and this week  is the week where I hope to stop this phenomenon.

Last but not least, the issues with the next door neighbors. They had an early Fourth of July party yesterday and didn’t invite my parents. It really hurt my mom’s feelings and made my dad angry. As a result, it made me livid. But on top of that, I felt physical symptoms of anger and anxiety. When I saw my neighbors, I felt my chest tighten and felt pain in my head. I wanted to go over there and start screaming at them. I felt awful for my parents. I always tried to be the bigger person and continue to say hi to them even though they have basically phased my parents out of the neighborhood social circle over the years. I never wanted to be the person who just straight up ignores people but at this point I feel as though it’d be best for my health and psyche to just ignore these people. I have slowly removed myself from them as I have unfriended them on Facebook (which I’m still trying to get rid of) and have limited my communication to just the next-door neighbors but now I’ve really had enough. I really can’t afford the stress anymore and this weekend was the last straw for me.

So that has been my last two months. Lots of good, productive things and a few bumps along the way. My focus right now is to continue healing and working on my health in addition to participating in activities that I like with people who like and respect me. One thing that I’ve learned in the past two months is that I cannot hide my feelings (like being nervous about work or mad at a teammate or neighbor). I have to feel what I feel, take the appropriate action(s), and move on.

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Finally thinking outside the box.

I finally found a wonderful job that I believe I can excel in. The best part is that it has almost nothing to do with finance (minus payroll/budgeting) and everything to do with college kids and athletics/fitness.

I went to the human resources department website for my alma mater, where I received my MBA, to look for a job. I found an assistant marketing director job that deals with the school’s fitness and recreation programs. It requires thinking about new programs and events for the campus recreation center, in addition to some administration work, which would be great. I’ve really wanted to take on a leadership role, that’s always been a goal of mine.

I love sports and have recently gotten into diet and fitness more so now than I have my entire life. What a perfect opportunity for me.

I mentioned it to my parents, who are skeptical but happy that I found a particular direction that I might want to head towards professionally.

I’m confident that I can do this job. I spent an hour Sunday night writing a cover letter and adjusting my resume. I sent it electronically and got an e-mail receipt yesterday. Last night I mailed out a hard copy of both documents.

Wish me luck!

 

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I need a change of pace.

I sat at my desk at work today and was bored. I am just plain bored there. I’ve been getting better at telling myself that I’m only staying there until after my boss’ baby is born, then I’m restarting my job hunt. Some days just get hard to sit through though, especially since my job is rarely intellectually stimulating and I get little to no respect.

In the meantime, I’ve really been trying to change things up in my life – I’m training with a personal trainer three times per week, I play volleyball once per week, and I’m a member of a women’s volunteer group that meets a few times per month. So far, doing all of this has certainly helped, but I’m still not fully happy. Before my anxiety and depression blew up almost two years ago (wow, time flies), I was always happy regardless of my situation. I was courageous and had lots of faith in myself and the world at large. I’ve been a lot better, my depression is gone and my anxiety is phenomenally better, but I still have to fight to relax and just be happy and enjoy.

I feel as though my job is the one thing that’s really holding me back at this point. I want more flexibility and I want meaningful work. The day-to-day boredom is mind numbing and I want to be excited to go to work in the morning. In theory, I’d really like to start my own business, but for now, at 26, I’m just focusing on having steady employment within my field. However, for now, I’ve made the decision to stay put and do the right thing for karma’s sake. I also needed a break from the job hunt – looking for a job in investments is difficult in this economy.

In a selfish way, I hope down the line that my patience pays off and I am rewarded for helping my boss out.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Changing My Situation, Life's Goals

 

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Family Fat or Fat Family.

In my other blog, 6 in Six, I’m chronicling my path, journey (enter any clichéd term) to losing weight and reaching my goal of fitting into a size 6 dress. Weight (both management and loss) has always been a focus in my life and in the life of my family; not to mention that it’s also part of the namesake of this blog as well. My own personal story of weight gain/loss/management goes back to high school, where, long story short (Here’s the long version: http://6insix.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/), my weight has fluctuated between 140 and almost 200 lbs. I’m currently around 155, which is fine, but I’d like to look and feel better, hence the new blog.

Even though my personal weight history doesn’t go back way too far (I’m only 26), my family’s spans 3 generations (that I know of). My paternal grandfather had diabetes and refused to stop eating candy and cake before he passed away. My paternal grandmother’s weight fluctuated constantly during her lifetime. My maternal grandmother, or Nonna, (who is alive; she’s a healthy 78, God bless her!), has always been a little overweight, but what Italian woman isn’t? Just kidding, she has never been obese, but she tends to carry more weight especially after menopause. The good part about her is that she goes to the gym – EVERYDAY. I’m very proud of her. My dad’s sister and her husband, my aunt and late uncle (who also happen to be my only aunt and uncle as my mom is an only child), have been obese, even morbidly obese for as long as I can remember and beyond. My uncle passed away in 2006 at the age of 59 because he was so heavy – think anywhere between 350-500 lbs for a man around 6 ft tall, perhaps even shorter, I can’t remember. After his death, my aunt, who was also VERY heavy, lost around 90 lbs. She’s still obese, but I’m glad that she’s at least lost some weight. My brother gained weight in college (just like I did), but he’s never been obese. My dad’s weight fluctuated a lot between the time when my parents got married and I was a baby. After that, his weight has been pretty consistent as he’s very active; going to the gym, riding his bike, coaching football, and refereeing basketball, all of which he still does today (and he’ll be 60 in July – God bless him too!). Then there’s my mom.

She’s struggled with her weight for as long as I can remember. It seems that her weight issues came about post pregnancy/child rearing. She lost the baby weight after giving birth to my brother and then me, but it seems as though as she and my father were raising us, the stresses of having kids coupled with other things took its toll on her weight and she gained. Since I was cognizant of her struggles with weight, she’s tried many things including low-carb diets, pills, detox, etc. Nothing that helps to promote lifestyle changes and healthy habits.

So, here comes today’s story. My mom’s been sick (like has a cold, etc.), so she stayed home today. She called me this morning to ask me if I could buy a book off of Amazon for her, so I did. I asked her how she was feeling because my dad told me that she was up all night throwing up, etc. She told me that she was better, but the chicken that she cooked last night must’ve not been cooked through all the way, which made her sick. She then goes on to mention that she also threw up the 1st night of their cruise last week. THEN she says that she hasn’t been eating carbs and even though she’s thrown up twice recently, she’s lost 5 lbs. I said to her “well, that’s great, but you’ve been throwing up”. I also explained that she doesn’t need to avoid carbs and she needs to make lifestyle changes because she can’t sustain not eating bread/pasta/etc. forever. She gave me the runaround and “yea yea yea”‘ed me, which made talking to her tough. Then I tried to say that she should really consider going to a nutritionist or trying weight watchers but she cut me off and said she doesn’t want to hear it in only so many words.

It’s tough for me to watch her not take care of herself especially since she’s within the menopause age range (she’s 58) and it’s only going to get harder for her to lose weight, etc. as she gets older. For a woman of her height, weight and age, she’s in good shape as in she can move and move quickly. She’s got strong, muscular legs and arms, but she’s carrying a lot of extra weight in her midsection. I don’t want her to get seriously sick or injured as a result of the extra pounds. I am always conflicted as to whether or not I should say things to her about her weight, but I feel like if I don’t, then I would be partially responsible for her condition and I would be completely enabling her dietary and active behaviors. It’s always a fight or argument if anyone brings up this sensitive topic to her, but we (as in myself, my dad, her mom, etc) just want what’s best for her. She has people who can and want to help her (including my cousin who’s a personal trainer!), but she refuses to use her resources.

I can understand where the defiance comes from since I heard a bunch of people trying to offer me “help” when I was 50 lbs. heavier, including the overweight women in my family, which made me unbelievably angry that they “had the nerve” as I would think at the time. Everyone had their two cents and felt a need to express it to me, which always made me mad. In order to combat it, I’d just eat more junk and act defiant to prove that no one can tell me what to do. I felt like that was the only control that I had at that point. I remember the emotions that I felt very vividly and I try to remember them especially when talking with my mom about her weight. I hope that one day the light will turn on for her as it did me. I eventually got so fed-up with being fat; so fed-up that I was finally ready to lose the weight – the RIGHT way.

I guess that’s what it’ll really come down to. Being ready and willing to do the work it takes to lose weight and take up a healthier lifestyle. Anyone can say “I want to lose weight, I want to be healthy” but you really need to be in the right mindset to do it. No one can force anybody to follow a diet and exercise regiment. It’s all up to the individual.

I want her to be healthy; I want my family to be healthy and active. The goal is for everyone to stay around for as long as possible.

We’re all at a disadvantage if we don’t take care of ourselves.

 
 

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Change.

It’s been a very busy month. From job interviews (thank God!) to the holidays to my hobbies – I’ve been running around nonstop.

As I wrote in the previous entry, I’m pretty much debt-free all thanks to my nonna (Italian grandmother). I have about $1,800 left to pay to Sallie Mae to finish off my student loans for good. It’s an amazing feeling. I also have a second round interview with an investment firm in New Jersey tomorrow afternoon. I really cannot complain at this point, I’ve been blessed, especially in the environment that we’re living in today.

In terms of my struggle with anxiety (post birth control pill), I’ve been feeling a lot better mentally, even while waiting on my period. Because my periods aren’t regulated, I’m not sure as to how long I PMS during each cycle because my period has come anywhere between 28 to 40 days since stopping the pill. My anxiety peaks before my period comes, so it can get frustrating waiting for it. However, my anxiety is mild now and seems to get better with each passing day, which I’m extremely grateful for. I still have my moments, don’t get me wrong, but it feels great to know that I’m regaining control of my thoughts and my life.

I also started another blog, one that I hope will keep me on track with my weight loss/body goals. It’s called 6 in Six, which stands for getting down to a size 6 in six months. The link is in Lessons Learned to the right – take a look if you’d like!

Finally, I hope that everyone (in the U.S.) had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is enjoying the holiday season!

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Changing My Situation, Family, Job Search, Life's Goals

 

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Could’ve had a V8.

And I did. I drank a mini can of V8 Spicy Hot this morning. I’m a huge fan of a good Bloody Mary, so this was right up my alley, minus the liquor, of course.

I had two softball games yesterday morning and towards the end of the first game I sprained my ankle. Ten years ago to the day, I had broken the same ankle (the right ankle) and also had a third degree sprain as well. Yesterday, while running from first base to second, I went to slide into second base and my feet got caught up, causing me to land awkwardly on my ankle with all of my body weight (I weigh about 150 lbs). Needless to say, I heard a “pop” and immediately felt the pain. Instead of crying and writhing in pain (dramatics are not my thing), I just laid in the sand, waiting for someone to help me up. Eventually I got helped to the bench, and wound up icing and moving it around for the second game (although I played a little first base that game). When I got home, my boyfriend wrapped my ankle up and iced it for me – he’s the man! 🙂 Then I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch while my dad made fun of me, because that’s what he does – he loves to joke around!

So, what do V8 and my ankle injury have to do with one another? Well in between my games and going home, I ran to Stop and Shop (a U.S. supermarket chain) to get some groceries for the week. Knowing that I’d be out of commission for Wednesday night volleyball and not knowing when I can even start back at the gym yet, I knew I had to get GOOD FOOD (tasty yet nutritional) for the week because I can’t afford to gain weight. In addition to V8, I bought tabuleh, falafel, whole grain pita, tzatziki, feta cheese (my favorite), and a few chobani greek yogurts (in assorted fruit flavors) – basically I went uber-Mediterranean this week! Either way, I have to eat well to balance out my lack of physical activity this week. I also just need to get in the habit of taking better care of myself. This injury has really given me a spark that I need to get my body into peak form. I want to fully recover from this injury. I want to get into the gym on a routine and eat well.

I want to be better than before.

 

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Mentally strong. Physically sluggish.

I have been commenting on how well I’ve been feeling all week. The trend seems to continue today even with the dreary weather here in New Jersey. I’ve really been able to take control of my thoughts and subsequent emotions, which feels great. Even during times of legitimate stress, I’ve been able to “keep calm and carry on”.

In terms of my menstrual cycle, which generally dictates my moods (although certain life stressors affect them as well), I should be in the third or fourth week (possible PMS) depending on the length of my cycle. Since I’ve been off the pill (I hit my sixth month anniversary last Friday), my cycles have varied between four and five weeks, so it’s been difficult trying to map out where exactly I stand within each cycle. My anxiety stemming from PMS last cycle was mild, so I’m hoping that I may be able to improve upon that this cycle.

I’ve continued to take one Orchex before bed each night and I have taken 5,000U of vitamin D and a dropperful of B12 each morning. I’ve also continued to avoid (not completely) soy, corn, white potato, and oats as part of my naturopathic regiment. It seems to be working quite well. In addition, I’ve tried to layoff caffeine and alcohol, although if I do have some, it’s been in small doses.

Although I’ve been advancing on the mental front, my physical self is another story. I’ve been so lazy (with the exception of playing softball and volleyball) and haven’t been in the gym at all this week. I really wanted to start on a schedule, but I always get thrown off track and then I resign to never making the time. Plus, my diet hasn’t been so great, especially since in between typing this, my lunch consisted of cheetos, pineapple, kiwi and water because the deli that delivers our lunches at the office forgot my chicken chili – I did have good intentions today…

Anyway, I really need to get on track. Perhaps if I log my gym time and my diet in this blog, that will help me stick to some sort of regiment. I may start on Sunday, but we’ll see. The schedule is looking mighty packed for this week coming up, so I hope that I can pull this together. I grew up playing sports and there was nothing I loved more than healthy competition and getting physical. I’m an athlete at heart and not being in the best shape that I can be is upsetting. I need to get my body back for that inner-athlete.

I have to do it for her.

 

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