Is it frustration? Is it desperation? Have I been lying to myself all along or have I simply forgotten what mattered, forgotten where I have been? I just spent the better part of the past hour writing what I hoped would be an inspiring (nigh Pulitzer-winning) blog entry about how this time around I would not make this all about weight loss. I would make it about wellness and self-care, about overall health and happiness. This time, I would look at nutrition in terms of making my body thrive and my skin glow. I would incorporate fitness into my life beyond just the gym, keeping active and getting fit. I would meditate, be present in the now and treat myself with compassion and empathy as I navigated these changes. I maligned focusing simply on calories consumed, sweat expelled and the digital number beaming up at me from the scale beneath my feet, validating or vilifying my previous week’s efforts. “Oh no,” I wrote, “this is not the way. I must make this journey about overall wellness, blah blah blah.” I’d had a profound revelation and I was sharing it with you. I made an outline, complete with roman numerals, detailing my plan (which, as of this point, I have not yet scrapped). It was great. I was inspired. Then, mid-sentence, I had to fact-check myself and, thus time traveled back to May 2014 and my first ever blog entry. I was stupefied. I had already written about how I’d began a weight loss journey but evolved to taking a journey of overall wellness, devoted to physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Reading this knocked the wind from my sails. Honestly, this approach has most certainly not been in the forefront of my mind. For the past year, I have meal planned for my calorie range and plugged every step into Endomondo. I have not meditated, I have not cared for my body, mind or spirit, I have not felt balanced or well. I have felt tired and defeated. So, I ask myself: is it frustration at the weight gain that has me mentally neglecting the lessons I’d learned long ago? Is it desperation to take that weight back off? Or have I simply forgotten, have I become so far removed from the “me” who had succeeded and the “me” who had learned those valuable lessons about balance the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit that I’ve lost them? I find myself now, not inspired but questioning… realizing that I am truly starting over at the beginning in many ways. I have to believe this realization, while startling and upsetting, is a good thing, even though I feel a bit gut-punched at the moment.

Whether I thought of it now or discovered it years ago, this plan resonates with truth for me. This is about wellness and transformation in every possible way. This will transform my body, my outlook on life, my relationships, everything. This is the path – a path I navigated before – to being the best possible version of myself. Rather than deride myself for having lost my way, lost sight of this truth, I will take myself by the hand with loving compassion and guide myself back to where I need to be.

p.s. I will complete and post the aforementioned outline in a separate entry as both a means of sharing my plans as well as keeping myself accountable.

Preparation Nation

Preparation. I am in the preparation stage. That is what I have been telling myself in an attempt to pacify the anxiousness and frustration I’ve been feeling at delaying the start of my next push towards transformation. A couple spur-of-the-moment trips (and one previously planned one) have waylaid my best-laid plans. I have known for a while that these travel arrangement would create a problem for my goals and had, from the beginning, planned on starting over when I the travel was behind me. I decided not to try to start now, instead I would use this time to prepare and, ultimately, help to set myself up for success when the time came.

Preparation Step One: Fitness. The gym has been an issue since I went back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I like my gym here – it is clean, well-equipped, staffed with great people and only a 15-minute drive from the house. Unfortunately, it is 15 minutes in the opposite direction of work. Now getting to the gym is a struggle. First I tried going early in the morning but found getting up at 4:30am was impractical. Then I tried going straight from work in the evenings; enter Silicon Valley traffic. What should be a 30ish minute drive from the office to the gym (already a bit too far) can take upwards of an hour in evening commute traffic. That’s when I started toying with the idea of a home gym. After doing some online research and reconnecting with my personal trainer from New Orleans, I decided that the TRX home suspension training was the way to go. David and I set to work, playing “find the ceiling stud” and converting a scarcely used addition at the back of the house to a workout space.


Preparation Step Two: Nutrition. Learning to cook for two shouldn’t have been a challenge, but I managed to make it one. I fell into the trap I have so often cautioned people asking me for advice about; I was trying to turn every meal into a culinary pyrotechnic event. I need to stress that David has never expected me to churn out a four-star meal every night. He’d be perfectly happy with Amy’s soup and a handful of crackers. The problem has been my love for cooking to make people happy and, for the past year, that’s what I have been doing. We have been indulging in lasagna, pizza, mac n’ cheese, Kung Pao tofu and chow mein, pancakes and waffles, lemon bars and scones. I won’t lie, it has been fun – fun to make and fun to eat. At this point; however, I think we’re both sort of over it. I find myself bristling at the idea of a heavy meal, craving lighter and more natural options.

Meal planning and prep has been the single most essential aspect of my past success, ensuring I meet my nutritional goals for calories, macro and micronutrients. On a recent trip to the Vitamin Shoppe, we discovered some new-to-me options including protein-fortified almond milk, nut butters and even all-natural cookies. Using some of these newly discovered ingredients, I have spent the past week plugging recipe and meal options into MyFitnessPal, gearing up for meal planning. Now I am excited to introduce David to this style of eating and he is excited to try it.


Preparation Step Three: Mental Attitude. This one is harder to prepare for. Initially, after posting my last blog, I was motivated and ready to begin. Unfortunately, the holding pattern I have found myself in as we travel – currently we are on a five-day at-home layover between trips to Seattle and Germany – has seen my enthusiasm wane. That is why I decided to blog today, to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind. My grand plans to start the intense TRX 8-Week Training Program and my nutrient-dense 1350-calorie meal plan seem distant and unreachable. When can I start? I have been chomping at the bit! Knowing that I can’t begin the way I want to – uninterrupted and undeterred – until all our travel plans are behind us on May 9 makes it difficult to get and stay inspired. For now, this is my struggle; this is the challenge. The fact is, this is life and life throws all sorts of obstacles, foreseen and unforeseen, in our way. How we navigate these challenges can determine our success. The challenge before me now is finding the mental fortitude within myself to keep my determination, to remain as excited and eager as I was a week and a half ago, to remember what I want and why I want it. I guess there really is no preparing for that.

Lost and found and lost and …

Nearly two years and no word from me. What happened? Where do I begin? At the beginning of the end. I was doing great, losing weight, getting fit and sharing my successes with you. In July, I hit a weight loss milestone and felt unstoppable… right up until I stopped. It wasn’t a sudden halt, but rather a gradual slowing to a crawl. I had an off-week and gained a few pounds. I went out to brunch, went out to dinner, worked late and skipped the gym and gained a few more pounds. Brunch and dinner and working late and catching up on “Say Yes to the Dress” became more frequent, meal planning and gym time became less frequent, pounds came and went and came again. In October I found David and quickly fell in love, spending hours each night on the phone to California, dreaming and making plans for our future together. I could cop out and blame those late nights on the phone but they never stopped me from going to the gym in the afternoon. I could point to all sorts of external influences but, ultimately, I have always had distractions in my life, other things I could be doing. I had grown complacent, content to rest on my laurels and my routine was no longer a routine. The weight came back on slowly, creeping up steadily. I moved back to California, had to find a new gym and learn to cook for two instead of one. More convenient excuses – but excuses not reasons because I found a gym and hardly ever go; David’s constant complaint is that I feed him too much, not too little. No, not one damned thing stood in the way of my getting back on track except me and whatever imaginary roadblock I have erected between myself and my goal. And I quit blogging. I had nothing to say. Who would be inspired by this?

I had always been excited to share my wins, my goals and dreams with the world. Success is only half the story, only half the truth and half truths aren’t truths at all. The other half of the truth is failure; the stumbles, wrong turns and utter defeats. I could scarcely admit those to myself let alone divulge them to friends and strangers. I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and have come to realize just how valuable failure is. I’d been internalizing my failures for months, ashamed and depressed and completely void of motivation. But failure is something we all share, it’s something we have all faced and overcome. I have learned so much more from the failures in my life than the successes. We celebrate each others victories but awkwardly brush off or ignore missteps – but I am blogging today because I want to celebrate my failure. My failure is a blessing. My failure is the launchpad for change, the source of insight. It is a powerful lesson in life and perseverance, in humility and picking oneself up by the bootstraps. So here I am, humbled and white-knuckling my bootstraps, ready to dust up the atmosphere and make lightning strike a third time.

My first step is facing my failures and that meant doing something I had been avoiding for months: getting on the scale. The second step is taking shame out of the equation, exploring my feelings with honesty and introspection and discovering how (and, more importantly, why) I got here. The third step is overhauling everything and beginning again. Instead of jumping on WordPress when the going is good, when I can joyfully share all the happy progress I have made, I am taking you on this journey from the very beginning – the unflattering, difficult-to-admit beginning: 40 pounds regained, buying larger pants, popping Pepcid to combat the return of my reflux; humiliated that I have moved the ring David gave me to my pinky finger for fear that I won’t be able to slide it off my ring finger; frustrated and discouraged and feeling that I have failed everyone who ever said they were inspired by me. While I have been blessed these past two years in so many ways – finding love, moving home to California, getting a great job, spending time with family and friends – I have also spent the better part of them feeling disheartened, apathetic and helpless in terms of my weight and health.  So there it is, the ugly truth is out… Jody lost and found and lost and a total mess but a hopeful mess.