Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stop the Gymtimidation

Chances are if you are new to hitting the gym or want to give the gym a try, you may have felt Gymtimidated at some point. I know I have, and it was hard to get over at first.
So I'm going to share with you what I've learned.

Ok, you've decided you need to change things in your lifestyle, maybe you want to be a more healthier you. While I totally agree everyone can benefit from change, you first have to make sure you WANT to change and that you're ready for it. Change is usually not easy so don't try to change everything at once. For me, finding a good balance between what I'm used too and what I want is a good place to start.

So let's talk about THE GYM...You drive by and see all those people in there working hard and you think...daaaaammnnn, I wish I could do that!! Annnnd then you keep driving, hopefully not through the drive thru across the street. But guess what, YOU CAN do that!! Not everyone that works out at the gym is a jacked up muscle head or can run 20 miles. You might be surprised at who is actually at the gym when you relax and look around.

So you did it, you signed up and now you're either panicking or you are excited. Don't worry those feelings will most likely fade. I used to drive to the gym and cry in the parking lot and then go home....Yup, I did!! The hard work seemed endless, I would think about those dreadful machines and how fast everyone else could go and I'd already be setting my mind up for failure. I'd see the women in their adorable workout pants running, ponytail bouncing, and I'd think screw you!!

I was afraid to try anything new and out of my comfort zone, which was pretty much any machine at the gym. I felt like everyone was staring, so instead of asking someone I would avoid it....fear can be crippling!!

So here is what I know, everyone going to the gym has something in common. They are working on THEMSELVES!!
And everyone has different goals for themselves. It's not a competition and nobody, trust me NOBODY is judging you harder than you're judging yourself.

So a few things that have made my life easier since working on myself and sticking to it.


If you're longing to hit the gym or take a class but you've thought up every excuse why you can't, start rearranging things so YOU CAN. I gave up drive though coffee, an easy $10 a week, that pays for my monthly gym membership.

Look at your schedule and schedule your gym time. It helps if you can write it down, thats right put it in WRITING!!

Go get yourself some comfortable, cute, super cool workout clothes. They don't have to be expensive, you can buy them at wal-mart, target or TjMaxx. Plus they last forever. Do yourself a favor, DO NOT  show up to workout in your pajama bottoms or your lounge me!! It's a mind set. If you have on your hello kitty pajama / lounge / bus top pants your brain will want to be on the couch, not on the treadmill. Not kidding!!

Put your gym clothes and sneakers on before you can change your mind, this helps. It's so much easier to find more things to do around your house when you are still in your jammies. I put my gym clothes on right when I wake up, no excuses.

Bring a buddy or don't bring a buddy. I feel like this is more of a personal preference. I started working out with my husband in the beginning which held me accountable. BUT...I couldn't keep up with him which made me feel like a failure. SO, I started to break away from him at the gym and just work on what I wanted and that works for me. If your friend wants to quit early and you still have plenty more to give, you are more likely to quit because of your friend...just saying.

Find SUPPORT!! Do not try to do this alone. Even if it's an online FB group Click here to join mine  Find one you can check in with to hold yourself accountable and share your accomplishments. Groups are awesome for this, because celebrating even the smallest step is IMPORTANT!!

Follow someone you can relate too. Some health and fitness people can be intimidating, and that is NOT for me. Follow someone REAL. I relate more to the person who admits they are having a bad day, or skipped the gym because they were tired. Not the person who would lock their kids in the basement so they don't miss a workout. Another important relatable thing for me is, following a person who shares their own before and afters, their own struggles and their own progress.
The good...The bad...The ugly!!

Now that we have given ourselves permission to invest in changing our lifestyle, let's talk about food. This is where balance comes in. I am not a dieter. Anything to hard or restricting I run away from.
So start small. I'm not good at food prepping BUT I do prepare somewhat of a list / menu before I go to the store for my weekly groceries. If there is something you want, look online for healthy option recipes.
You would be amazed at how picky I am about food, I don't like fruits and I barely enjoy veggies. BUT, after playing around with different ways to prepare them, Whoa!! I'm eating like a champ!!

I've been able to cut carbs and dairy. I eat very low sugar, tons of veggies, and SALADS...anyone who knows me probably thinks I'm lying at this point!! But I'm serious...don't go by what someone else is doing or telling you to eat, go by what works FOR YOU!!

 I'm a big believer in creating healthy options, less restrictions. NO restrictions!! If my kids wants to order a pizza, we order a pizza!! Find your balance.

Muscle FUEL for weight loss, another thing I could not be bothered with in the beginning and has now made a huge difference. Find yourself some sort of protein supplement. Chances are if you're trying to scale back, eat healthy, and cut carbs you are NOT eating enough!! Find a protein shake, powder, whatever and add it to your day. You will be amazed at how much energy this gives you!! And how much this actually helps your appetite and weight loss.

STAY MOTIVATED...How??? I thought you'd never ask. What I have found that works for me when I'm slipping or want so badly to give in and quit, I don't just think about why I started or why I'm doing this. I repeat the reasons over and over in my head. In the beginning, I would workout or run with my head phones in but no music. Being able to focus is important. Get honest with yourself and let the thoughts flow, I will tell you what came flowing was uncomfortable to admit at first and actually felt awkward. But allow yourself to think beyond your normal. Repeat them over and over. On days I really need to dig deep I say them out loud!! I've literally been running down the street yelling these out loud. You will be AH- MAZED at how well your mind responds to this.

Another trick I use when that one gets boring and sometimes my mind just doesn't want to believe me, especially if I've cheated or I'm having a "fat day" c'mon we all have those. Instead of focusing on how I feel, or how I think I look, maybe my stomach is a little jiggly or my legs are weak today. I envision what I want my body to look like. I think about my muscles underneath what I see, and focus on the muscle moving powerfully as I work out. ALLOW YOURSELF TO FEEL STRONG!!

And lastly, spend more time finding what works, instead of time being hung up on what doesn't....You might have to try several different things, you might have to accept a few things you don't want too. You might have to dig deep. You might have to get comfortable with being UNcomfortable. Things do not change over night.

So do yourself a favor and show up everyday with a smile on your face because you're worth it.
Make 2017 YOUR it for YOU!

Monday, April 6, 2015

A vacation full of firsts..

 I just spent a week on an island with my husband and kids.  I had been boycotting vacations since the last one.

A few years ago I wrote about a vacation we took (to the same place) and shared it. So many other wives and moms all over could relate to what I was saying, you can read that here.
This year we decided to go back and do it again, this would be our third time visiting St. Maarten.

I have to admit at first I felt like John owed me. I felt like he owed me for all the vacations we have been on where he's been clueless and unhelpful. But I realized that wasn't fair. I did my best to let him take control when he was confident and he was awesome.

 My kids are 13 and 16 and more than capable of handling themselves through airport security and on an airplane. This is the first trip they sat together on every flight and I got to sit back and do absolutely nothing!

This was a trip of many firsts...

We spent everyday at a different beach just relaxing. Everyone got to do what they wanted and it was great. It's the first time ever that we had the perfect mix of family time / John and Ash time. The kids are old enough to hang back in the room while we stepped out onto the beach at sunset. They are old enough to stay up late in their room and watch t.v. while we crashed early. And the best part was waking up to hot coffee followed by a long walk every single morning!!
An afternoon of shopping with Morgan.

It was also the first time I noticed a difference in Sarah, really looking around and realizing how some of these people live. I think almost everyday she told me how grateful she felt.  Watching her navigate and drive the jeep was priceless!!

First time I've ever had Morgan ask for a group hug!! And it's the first time she's ever sung Karaoke, first time we had ever heard her sing period!

It's the first time I didn't stress out about a thing...I realized I needed to let things go and compromise a little. My kids don't enjoy having a camera in their face and John doesn't like to take pictures at all. So I had to take what I could get and let go of the rest.

We still had some pretty funny mishaps!! ..But overall the memories from this trip are my favorite!
In fact they were so good, I told John I'd let him take us away again next year!

Sunset Beach

Friendly dogs everywhere

Endless mango smoothies
She finds the creepiest stuff wherever we go..this looked like a starfish / octopus 

Urchins in my cooler

Collecting shells for hours

St. Maarten 2015!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Baby Look Alikes

Last week I made a post about a conversation I had with a person at work. The conversation was about babies and how some people might say all babies are beautiful, but some are really not.
I think as a mother you obviously think your child is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, specially if it's your first baby. Sarah was pretty darn beautiful, and seemed very photogenic as an infant. And even though I though Morgan was just as beautiful, her looks were completely different and she was not photogenic straight out of the womb like Sarah was.

I would take Sarah to sears and have her pictures taken every 3 mos and buy them all. I would take Morgan and pray for one good one. I was so excited to take Morgan for her first photo shoot.  I'll never forget looking at the pictures and thinking, oh my god she looks just like Frank from the show Everybody Loves Raymond!!

 So I asked online for people to share pictures of their kids looking like celebrities and even though I only had a few emailed submissions, they are all pretty awesome! Including Morgan's Frank picture!!

The Frank look alike

Baby  Jack Nicholson

Olsen twins look alike

Who is the real baby North

Little Ron Weasley

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

There's a name for this???

Nail Biting

Licking your lips

Chewing gum

or any mouth noise


It feels likes a fork on a plate. Sometimes at school I want to run out of the classroom but I can't.

So I have to suck it up.

I am screaming in my head and I want to cry.

It makes me so stressed I can't concentrate because thats all I can hear.

I want to say.

"Do you really have to bite your nails in class???" "Do you really have to chew gum SO LOUD???"

I feel so out of control, I want to scream at the person "ARE YOU KIDDING ME???"

I know they are not doing it on purpose and I don't know how it doesn't bother anyone else.

Once I leave or the noise stops, I still feel irritated. It sometimes takes a long time to calm down.

People don't know I feel this way. I try to hide it but it's hard.

Sometimes I block my ears or listen to music on my phone.

I want to move my seat in class but I don't want anyone to ask me why.

Because what would I say??

I wish there was a medicine  I could take to stop it.  It's so annoying,  I have a headache just thinking about it!!

I wish I could get rid of it.

My mom says there's a name for it.

It's called Misophonia.
Under the blanket in the car, blocking out the sound.

Monday, November 10, 2014

If you think I haven't been there...Think again!

I've been living without a thyroid for almost 13 years..the diagnosis of thyroid cancer was scary, but what came after was nothing shy of a nightmare.

I get messages everyday (yes I read and respond to them all) some say, I'm an inspiration and they look forward to someday living a happy symptomless life...some want to know how I can be energetic and happy all the time..and some want to blast me telling me I don't know how awful it is.

Trust me, I know.. I just didn't have this page 13 years ago. Living without a thyroid is something I've become used to, but it hasn't been easy. I still have days that I'm tired and symptomatic, I'm not cured. And last I checked my thyroid is still missing.

If you have thyroid disease or lost your thyroid, it's not easy. I can only describe it as being handed a new identity with no instructions on how to live your new life. It's a guessing game every morning when you wake up which symptoms will be present.

I spent years dealing with the stress and pain this has caused me. Years I'll never get back and years I'd rather forget. The anger and sadness consumed me...everything was my thyroids fault...


I've found myself at the bottom of what seemed like an endless pit so many times..I've wanted to give up SO.. MANY.. TIMES!! I've screamed and cried and blamed and screamed some more and guess what?  Everyday when I wake up nothing has changed..I will never have a thyroid..I will always take medication. The end.

Being angry was taking more away from me in life than losing my thyroid, it was turning me into a person I hated...I was living a life I hated...I was just surviving.

But it's so hard to be happy, when you feel so bad all the time... You are not alone!

I've asked for help and found myself sitting in front of a team of people who thought I was crazy!   I've had thoughts cross my mind that I never want to admit to anyone.. Pretending those thoughts don't exist doesn't make things better...But you will push through it, I know you will.

It took A LOT to accept that this was the new me..deciding not to let this determine my lifestyle was hard, it's a lot easier to stay mad.. than to suck it up everyday..

Having issues with your thyroid is not just's hell. Unless you have been there, there is no way to ever fully understand.

I've been there..over and over..I've climbed and fought my way to the top of that hole countless times, because I'm worth it!!  I'm here to tell you, it is possible to live the life you want.

 I have been there!!

YOU can do this...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Morgan ~ The missing Pieces to her puzzle

Freedom and relief is what I expected to feel this past Friday when we left Morgan's appointment at Children's Hospital in Boston. We were there just two weeks before, for neuropsychological testing. Last Friday we were given the results.

I didn't feel free or relieved when I saw the pain on Morgan's face and the frustration in her voice, when she looked at us and said " I have to stay like this?" And later found out, that she thought we were there to "fix" her rather than find out something was actually wrong  different about her brain. She heard words we had never said to her before, and I cannot imagine how confusing and scary that must have been.

I feel we made the right decision on having her tested and now only wish I'd listened to my heart sooner, and done this years ago.  I've looked up her "quirks" for years and always found myself reading about kids on the Autism Spectrum and thinking, could she be? And felt it was a possibility.

The Doctors at Children's explained that she does have a lot of the characteristics of A LOT of different disorders, but she always seemed to be lacking the key piece they use to make the actual diagnosis. Except in two things that seemed very obvious.

"Your child has a very complicated profile" ..."how she has gotten this far in school, we don't know."

"Morgan suffers from communication impairment in the ability to receive, send, process and comprehend concepts of verbal, non-verbal and graphical symbols."

"She has a speech and language impairment of the articulation of speech sounds, fluency and voice. Impairment comprehension and or use of spoken written or symbols systems."

"Morgan also has Dyslexia, a learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to other words."
"By the time a child is a certain age they have developed a word bank in their brain of commonly used words. Morgan's word bank is underdeveloped."

"We also believe this is causing her to have anxiety and making her feel as if she is out of place, or socially awkward as she calls it."

"How she has gotten by so well in school, is amazing."

How in the world didn't I realize this....

For years I watched as Morgan was misunderstood, by teachers and eventually friends and even family. It was heartbreaking, for me.

And I feel terrible for not realizing what it must have felt like for her.

I never had any answers for why she did the things she did does.

But now, it makes so much sense!!

Over the years, mostly since being in middle school.

Morgan has been referred to as being "rude & "snarky"
(by a teacher)
The same year was compared to a baby (again by a teacher) has been singled out in front of the class (by another teacher) has been accused of lying, withholding information and purposefully ignoring people.
All by people who know her and see her on a daily basis.

Watching someone trying to have a conversation with her is sometimes painful... I cannot imagine what it is like, for her.

Morgan is in the 7th grade and is unable to use a dictionary effectively...but can build just about anything and make it work.

She doesn't measure anything..but she can design a costume better than most adults.

Calendars don't make sense to her. Neither do weeks and months. But she can fly a plane.

As we walk down our new path, I will continue to share about Morgan as long as she's comfortable with it.  In time I'm sure she will open up about how she feels about all of this new information. Until then she has given me permission to share my feelings on it, as long as I consider letting her have a puppy!

These are the things that make Morgan who she is, guaranteed she will not let this stand in her way!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The endocrine's one tricky Mofo

The Endocrine system is one tricky MoFo...ok that's not what he really said, but thats what I heard.

I also's time to dig a little deeper into whats going on inside your body and I promise you, I will try to figure this out...I'm sure the look on my tired face and the tears in my eyes helped getting my point across... I'm trying to think of everything I can tell him about the past few months, every little symptom..every little ache..every little pain.

He explain's we will start with's easy enough. He goes on to tell me what he thinks and what he will test for to start. But he knows what is in the back of my mind and he knows that is why I can't seem to think straight. I can't bring myself to say it out loud and he doesn't mention it either, but I know he will test for it.

It has been 12 yrs since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer...I may be cancer free..but I will never be free from cancer. It's always there, like a skeleton in your closet. It taunts you..reminds you..and scares the living shit out of you no matter how hard you try and forget you ever met.

I am relieved. All you want is for someone to listen.  I decided to see my primary care physician this time, not my endocrinologist. I needed someone to start looking at other things, not just my thyroid.

You go to these Doctors and you trust them to do what is best for you.. I've asked before for more than just a TSH test and been told I didn't need it. I think I have a pretty good relationship with my endocrinologist but recently I have felt like more of a number instead of a person with a voice.

Thyroid symptoms suck.

I hate that I am on medication that is constantly changing and I hate that this controls how I feel on a daily basis.  Most of the time I am able to push through and mask how I really feel. Nobody wants to hear you complaining about how tired you are or how fat you feel. Eventually you will feel like it's always an excuse..Eventually you will feel like shit about not being able to do the things you want.
Eventually the guilt will build and then maybe if you're lucky the depression will set in.

I step on the scale before I leave the Doctor's office and I hate the number I see.. I work so damned hard to make it to the gym and work out even harder when I get there. Working hard and getting no results is hard..but I will keep trying.

There are days I am uncomfortable in my own skin.  You would think I'd be over it and used to it by now. I tell myself I need to let it go,  I have to just make the best of this. Sometimes thats just not good enough.

Yes I am alive..Yes I am a survivor.. I should be more grateful...but I don't always feel that way. .

It's like having your dream car and then someone telling you, you have to trade it in for a clunker and while you're at it you can only put water in your gas tank. Good luck getting it to run smoothly... Now make the best of it and have a nice day.

FUCK YOU!!!...I want to say..I don't want this mind or body anymore..I want to be me again..I want to be who I was before cancer decided to show up.

I feel like this today, but might not tomorrow. It's a roller coaster ride I wish I could get off, but instead I just hold on tight...

I WILL make the best of what I've been dealt..and I will try like hell not to let this ruin today or determine my lifestyle tomorrow.