I am a yoyo. Traveling up and down at two speeds, faster, then slower, with one hand commanding my each and every movement. Sometimes tangled in knots so intricate the most delicate hands cannot fix. Sometimes splitting at the sides; sometimes breaking entirely without an eye’s notice.
When I fell, I fell hard, crashing against the hardwood floor. Half of my broken body still spinning, I looked to see my other remains across the room. I could barely see the string that once held me together; its light cream color blending in with the wooden floor. I was broken. And nothing could fix me.
I wrote this passage before I started my weight loss journey a year ago, and I have revisited it often to remind me of where I started. After high school, my weight was always fluctuating. Although I hadn’t experienced significant weight loss, I lost 10-20 pounds here and there, and would then get a little cocky and gain the weight back, bringing me to where I started. Sure, this was frustrating, but not frustrating enough to have a breakthrough.
I never took the time to find out how many calories, grams of protein or fiber were in the food I ate. To me, food was an emotional tool; it didn’t provide me with fuel. It was something that I thought of as “earning” if I had eaten better the first half of the day, done well on a test, or was stressed out. If you ask me now, the way I viewed food was pretty screwed up. I remember meeting with a nutritionist a few years ago who told me snacks should be around 100 calories. I thought to myself “dream on, girl!” I would love to go back in time and slap myself on the top of the head for that one.
My major yoyo-years were later in college. Aside from downing beer and boxed wine for five years (go NU!), cooking didn’t interest me too much, leaving me the options of eating out or making pasta four times a week. Coming from a health-conscious household, I always made it a point to include fruit and vegetables in my diet, but never made a solid commitment to include them everyday.
I always told myself “I’ll start tomorrow” but (surprise, surprise!) tomorrow never came…until a year ago.
I hit rock bottom. No joke; rock freakin’ bottom. I was drinking heavily, eating crap, rarely exercising, and becoming increasingly more uncomfortable in my own skin. So, when a friend approached me and asked if I wanted to join a weight loss competition, I decided it was time to take a break from everything that had been bringing me down and get focused. I had always wanted to do it, so why not start then?
I tossed the alcohol, sugar and carbs aside and started mowing veggies, running and drinking a gallon of water per day. I bought healthy cookbooks and read Bob Harper’s book “The Skinny Rules” (which I highly recommend) over and over. I made a weight loss contract with myself and wrote weekly goals. Although these seem like simple changes, they helped me change my life significantly.
After month one, I was down 15 pounds. After month two, 30. After month six? 50. It became easier and easier as time went on, and I finally realized that this lifestyle change was going to stick. A year later I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but I’m getting there.
The past 365 days have brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. I’ll be completely honest, my decreasing pant size has been great, but the real reason for my joy is something else.
A good friend recently texted me to congratulate me on a before and after picture she saw I posted on Instagram. She went on to say, “you’re finally seeing what we have all along. Truly beautiful inside and out to your core.” I never thought I was beautiful. But, now I do. I am beautiful because I am happier, healthier and more confident. It feels good to say these things and
actually believe it.
I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey will take me. I have spent the past 365 days proving myself wrong, and I am going to continue to do so.
Never tell yourself you can’t do something. Ever.
On July 15 I proclaimed my happiness project. I set goals and published them for the people of the internet to see.
Well, guess what. I haven’t accomplished anything. Am I mad? No. U MAD? Probably not.
Much of my self discovery happens during my commute to work. During that full hour (to and from) I have ALL to myself to think. A lot. Almost everyday since July 15 I thought about my “happiness project” and just started giggling to myself. Why? Because it’s kind of hilarious that I thought I was going to JUMP right up and try and better myself and basically become my OWN PERSONAL CHEERLEADER (!!$*#($&%). It’s not that easy, guys. It’s not.
So, here I am proclaiming things again. I can sense your internal monologue right now: “Ugh. This girl is the worst. Why am I reading this again?”….cause I plastered it all over facebook, that’s why.
So I decided I’m going to take this slow. I’m still adjusting to a lot of changes right now. So, taking it slow it is. And I’m allowed to take it slow. (There are no referees here!)
Maybe I’ll post my progress, maybe I won’t. But in the midst of my sleepy beach day haze today I realized that even though I have all these “goals” there are still some pretty SIMPLE things that make me happy. Like:
- The beach
- A good book
- Pictures like this:
- A good chat with an old friend
- Dancing at a bar until 3:00 am*
- Sending family & friends cards
*I may or may not have done that this weekend
And the list probably goes on. So, until the end of the the summer, all bets are off for this project. Or maybe they’re not. For now I’m going to go take a freakin’ hip hop class in midtown Manhattan this week and report back on how freakin’ happy it made me. That’s all I need to be healthy right now.
Today I’m starting a new project: The Happiness Project. This idea stems from from roommate Alyssa, who introduced me to this book during our cross country road trip. The author, Gretchen Rubin, decided that she was going to make a genuine effort to be happy; so she set out to do just that for one whole year. She listed a set of 12 goals to reach each month, and during her last month, reflected on her progress.
Almost two years have passed since I experienced a truly unhappy period in my life. I’m much better now, but, I think I could still use improvement. Moving to a new state has affected me in ways I never expected. So, what a better time to start on my happiness project? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy! But, I think focusing on personal goals will make me that much happier.
During our road trip, I listed out 12 goals for myself. Rubin instructs that each month you should work on a different goal or “commandment.” I won’t go into too much detail, but here they are:
- Breathe, stretch, shake.
- Be comfortable in your skin.
- Let your hair down.
- Learn to manage.
- Be studious: read, write & think.
- Play fair.
- Don’t loose your sight.
- Talk it out.
- Treat yourself.
- Make the time, one step at a time.
- Make memories.
- Truly BE happy.
So, for the rest of July & August, I have made a commitment to get energized and exercise more. I miss running (so much!) and I plan to get back into it. I also started researching healthy recipes that I can make for moi. (I started to Pinterest the SHIT out of that stuff, so I’ll update you all on that soon.)
Today, I found a recipe for zucchini fries from Health.com which was part of my dinner. I made a bunch so I can take some for my lunches during the week.
I took the pictures with my phone so excuse the blurriness! For the main part of my meal, I cooked a meatless Boca Burger and decided to ditch the bun and topped it off with diced tomatoes and some fresh mozzarella cheese instead. And, in case you were worried - I still plan on indulging in red wine during this adventure, so don’t think that I’m not fun and games anymore.
I’m excited to continue posting my progress. I mean, once you put something online you’re more likely to do it, right?
I am ten days shy of being in NY for one month. A whole month! I feel like I got here yesterday. So much has happened, including drinking a lot of alcohol.
On Monday morning, I woke up in a great mood. I had a cute outfit planned out for my third week of work, and payday was on Thursday. I went to the beach on Sunday so I was perfectly sun-kissed (no need for blush!), AND I bought fresh fruit for my breakfast the night before. NOTHING WAS GOING TO GET ME DOWN! That quickly changed.
As I lugged the trash down our flight of stairs and opened the door, I was faced with a perplexed young man, who was just staring straight ahead. I looked at him, and proceeded to ask him if everything was all right. I then looked over and saw that the convenient store right below my private entrance apartment had been broken into. Great.
I didn’t feel that safe in my neighborhood due to a few minor instances the previous week, and after seeing the store, I had made up mind mind that I hated it here. My stomach was in knots the entire day while at work, making it a stressful day in general. Thankfully, I had previous plans to meet a friend for dinner, which only gave me the opportunity to avoid the problem even more. But, before dinner, I made a detour. If there is one thing that makes me feel better, it’s retail therapy. (Mom and dad you can skip over this part) When I walk into a store when I’m upset, a calm comes straight over me. I bought myself some yoga pants and a t-shirt that would comfort me later that night. awwwwww…..I know, I’m cute.
Five days later, I’m still kicking. I found out from the woman who owns the laundromat next to the store that her place was broken into several years ago, and that this was a very unusual incident. All in all, what are you going to do? I can’t change the fact that someone was feeling pretty greedy and chucked a brick through the door (that shattered completely). Needless to say, my neighborhood is growing on me. Little by little.
So, as of today, I have finished week three of work and reconnected with some really great co-workers. And I’m feeling pretty good about that.
I also got my first “big girl” paycheck yesterday. Everyone (at least 5 people) has said “oh my god! what are you going to buy!!?” and continued to tell me what they bought with their first check. I’ve politely smiled and said “I’m not sure” but deep down I know that I’ll only be buying groceries, my metro pass for next month and more (cheap) red wine.
Preface: This post is not intended to be a “bratty” rant in any way shape or form. If you don’t fancy sarcasm, I would have suggested you stop reading at the title of this post. I’m here for a good time… and a good time only.
My second week in NY has been what I’d like to refer to as a really interesting adjustment period. I have tried to find humor in every situation and I keep reminding myself that I’m really fucking lucky to be here.
When in a new environment, I usually freak out. I find everything wrong with it and call my mom and bitch about it for hours. (Okay, not hours, but you know, often.) In reality, I tend to not give my new environments a chance. I remember moving into college and since I was what Northeastern liked to call a “January freshman” no one had came back from winter break yet. So, there I was, in a room by myself in a new city with no one to hang out with (except Erin – SUP GIRL!) and I was absolutely miserable. I’m kind of going through the same thing except I do have friends here and I keep myself busy during the day with a little thing we all like to call a job. Also, I have a palate for red wine now.
This post stems from yesterday when I had a semi-breakdown at work because I lost a ring I bought myself in South Dakota. Even though it’s a material belonging, it had sentimental meaning to me. Afterward, I realized that I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and ready for the weekend. Hence why i divulged in a bottle of wine last night - thank god they don’t put serving sizes on those baby’s.
Anyway, what I’m really trying to say is that I’m adjusting and I just have to accept the fact that things are going to get better as time goes on. Yes, Erin, it takes you 45 minutes+ to get into Manhattan. Yes, Erin, you have cockroaches in your apartment. (say hello to my little friend!) Yes, Erin, you have a male roommate who you barely know. Yes, Erin, a man sat so close to you this morning on the train that it made you feel really uncomfortable and had to get up. Deal with it.
I have a job, I have health insurance, and I am in a city that I am constantly captivated by. I’ve enjoyed many a great views of the NYC skyline from the 7 train that I have to refrain from instagram-ing every 2 seconds.
Despite my adjustments, I’ve realized that there are a ton of things I took for granted while living in Boston. Here’s a little list:
- AC in my entire apartment
- Washer/dryer (try to figure out how to do laundry with a credit card here. OH WAIT- you can’t)
- Dish washer (however I find hand washing dishes to be very therapeutic)
- Grocery stores with normal products (okay fine, I’ll pay $2.00 for a bell pepper)
- Cheap liquor and wine
Things that I’m enjoying in NY:
- Fruit stands
- Walking aimlessly everywhere
- Happy hours
- The welcome back slice of pizza I had this week
- The hustle & bustle
- The fashion
Tomorrow I plan on going to the beach with 100 SPF and splish splashing away in the water with my friend Brian. For now, I’m going to enjoy my cabernet sauvignon and a good book.
After week one in New York, I am experiencing different emotions. Initially, it felt so good to be back here; I have been reminded everyday of why I love this city so much. This weekend is when my emotions moved from excited to overwhelmed when I moved into my sublet.
Last week I stayed with a good friend from Northeastern, Kate, who graciously let me sleep on her couch in Astoria. My boss told me that’s how she started out in New York, so we’re going to go with that it’s a rite of passage. Rite? Rite.
After a long and hot week, I slept in until about 11 am yesterday. Kate and I got a quick breakfast, and after we parted ways, I went back to pack up and get to my sublet by 3 pm. Since it was 95 degrees out, and I wasn’t staying too far away, I figured I’d call a cab. Easy? You would think so.
The cab driver called me outside and as I stumbled outside the door with my bags (if you know me well enough this is exactly what happened), I came face to face with a black car. I couldn’t help but think, “Jesus, is this guy going to charge me $50 bucks or something?” so I started pressing him that I didn’t have cash, only a credit card. After he put my bags in the car, he said that normally it would be $13, but if I was using a credit card it would be $30. That was when I politely asked him “could you pop the trunk please?”
I headed to the train station a few blocks away cause HEY! I figured I’d save some money and take the subway even though I was walking through purgatory with a backpack, two shoulder bags and a rolling suitcase.
Once I arrived at the station, I realized it was the wrong one. Only the NQ trains stopped there, and I needed the R, which was about a 15 minute walk back in the direction I came from. So, I lugged my bags back down the stairs and attempted to hail a cab for about 15 minutes. This proved to be unsuccessful as no one wanted to take me to where I was going; so I sucked it up and headed to the R.
After getting off the train at Roosevelt Ave., I was jostling my bags and phone to figure out where I was going. The entire time I kept thinking “I just need to see the NYC skyline and I’ll feel okay” - but it was no where in sight. After about a 15 minute walk, I arrived at my sublet, which was even hotter than outside. Yum.
After getting an AC unit in the window (thank you LORD) I started to unpack and since it was way too hot, instead of continuing to unpack, I met a friend for dinner in the city where we enjoyed the AC and some margaritas.
Today was great (which included brunch, good will shopping and popsicles) until I dropped my just-purchased jar of spaghetti sauce on my way home from Target. Shortly after, it took me 20 minutes to get into my apartment, as the lock was giving me a hard time. These are minuscule things that I shouldn’t complain about, but after yesterday and today, I’m feeling quite overwhelmed with how far away I am from friends, the city, and an uncertainty of what’s next after I move out of here.
But here is the good part. (There is always a good part to everything, right?)
The other day, Kate and I were chatting on the subway during our commute home. We were discussing our new “real world” budgets, health insurance costs, being on our own and having to figure out things for ourselves. The woman sitting next to us politely interrupted and told us that she had been eavesdropping on our conversation.
She told us she was our age once, and she knew what it was like to have the world at her feet, running around New York, having the time of her life. She said it took her a while to cut back on splurges, and she learned how to take care of the “big” things eventually. She told us both that it gets better with time.
So, despite the fact that I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m going to take the advice from our nameless friend, and know that it gets better. I am so lucky to be here, with health insurance and a job that I love; this is what really matters.
But, next time, I’m calling a cab.