things that made me happy in 2015

  

  • Dan, my amazing husband
  • Madison, Frieda, and Harriet, our wonderful pets
  • My fantastic family, my parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended relatives – they’re all extraordinary
  • My excellent friends
  • A challenging and rewarding job
  • Buying our incredible house!! : )
  • Getting to travel for through my job – to places I’ve never been, like San Francisco, and to places I’ve been to but got to discover new parts of, like Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • Podcasts
  • Books  (I met my reading challenge of reading 30 books this year! I’m setting the same goal for next year)
  • Lots of coffee
  • Rehabbing my knee
  • Trips to Columbus, Madison, OH, and Bowling Green
  • Hosting family and friends on trips to Cleveland
  • Indians, Cavs, and Columbus Crew games

  

  • Being diagnosed with celiac disease and starting to feel better
  • Fun nights playing Mario 3D World and Mario Kart
  • Meeting Matthew Dellavedova
  • Easter dinner at my grandma’s house
  • Many walks in the park
  • Trips to the movies with Dan and my dad
  • Getting new glasses and a new haircut
  • Attending showers for friends’ babies and weddings, and celebrating those terrific life changes with them
  • Learning to like running
  • Sitting on our deck
  • Visiting the Cleveland Zoo
  • Board game parties at my sister-in-law Cate’s apartment
  • Suppers at my parents’ house
  • Biking all over
  • Finally getting to visit the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, with Dan
  • Cooking in our new kitchen
  • Watching football games and English soccer games
  • Decorating our house for the holidays
  • Back to the Future themed Halloween costumes with Back to the Future movie marathon leading up to it
  • Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families in our new home
  • A wonderful Christmas weekend with our families and time together approaching the new year : )

  

And of course, hundreds of little moments that bring a smile to your face every day – blaring Adele in the car and singing at the top of my lungs, naps under the electric blanket with my cat laying on my side, laughing with my husband over something silly, brunch after church, playing with my dog. My main focus in 2016 is to flourish – to focus on becoming healthier, growing in my faith, spending time with my family, and just plain enjoying and celebrating life.

What were your favorite moments of 2015? Any goals or hopes for 2016?

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The 24 Best Things That Happened While I Was 24

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1. Dan and I got married.
2. We had a great minimoon!
3. And a fantastic picnic reception.
4. We also moved into our first home together.
5. I had a wonderful time getting ready for the wedding with an awesome kick ass bachelorette party planned by my sister and best friends.
6. I had a ton of fun attending others’ weddings, including a best friend’s.

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7. I was hired to be a tutor full-time at my alma mater.
8. I survived a difficult season of coaching and got to see four of my swimmers compete at Districts, not to mention watch so many others improve so much.
9. Helped quite a few students keep focused, pass classes, and graduate.
10. Finally attended my first BGSU homecoming weekend as an alumni.
11. Dan and I went to many Indians games.
12. And we did Dinner on the Diamond.

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13. We went to a Cavs and a Bluejackets game, too.
14. We hosted Thanksgiving for my family and his family together.
15. So many long walks with Madison in the park.
16. Joining and going to a near-by gym, as well as joining Tone It Up!
17. Buying and using my road bike.
18. Fun parties at my sister-in-law’s apartment…including Halloween when Dan & I were beekeepers and Madison was a bee!

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19. I made a new close friend in my co-teacher at work.
20. Hosting friends and family for weekends in Cleveland.
21. Going to An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends with my parents and spending Memorial Day weekend with Dan’s family.
22. Celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday.
23. Celebrating the end of the school year with an early summer weekend in BG.
24. And sooooo much more! Reading as much as possible, morning coffee and relaxation, cooking dinners with Dan, hilarious times with my students and swimmers, my parents adopting another dog, visits to Columbus, holiday celebrations, basically any time spent with family and friends!

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It’s been a great 24th year, and I can’t wait for what the next year holds! Here’s to 25!

 

101 Things in 1,001 Days

With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself.  I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.

I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )

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Start: January 1, 2014

Wellness

  1. Compete in a masters swim meet.
  2. Complete a triathlon.
  3. Meet my goal weight.
  4. Do yoga every day for a month.
  5. Stop biting my nails.
  6. Complete a Bible study.
  7. Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
  8. Take a self-defense class.
  9. Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
  10. Complete a plank challenge.
  11. Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
  12. Go to the eye doctor.
  13. Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
  14. Complete a squat challenge.
  15. Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
  16. Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.

Outings/Travel

  1. Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
  2. Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
  3. Go to a Blue Jackets game.
  4. Go apple or berry picking.
  5. Attend a live comedy show.
  6. Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
  7. Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
  8. Go on a tour of a brewery.
  9. Attend a professional orchestra concert.
  10. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  11. Go camping.
  12. Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
  13. Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
  14. Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
  15. Take Madison to the dog beach.
  16. Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  17. Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
  18. See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
  19. Go to a BGSU home football game.

Family/Friends

  1. Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
  2. Host a book club meeting.
  3. Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
  4. Do something extra special for each member of my family.
  5. Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
  6. Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
  7. Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.

Service/Philanthropy

  1. Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
  2. Donate toys to kids in need.
  3. Donate to BGSU.
  4. Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
  5. Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
  6. “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
  7. Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
  8. Complete 40 service hours.
  9. Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.

Hobbies

  1. Read 75 books I have never read before.
  2. Bake a pie from scratch.
  3. Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
  4. Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
  5. See a classic movie in a movie theater.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
  8. Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
  9. Back up all my photos.
  10. Make a T-shirt quilt.
  11. Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
  12. Back up all my music.
  13. Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
  14. Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
  15. Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
  16. Watch Gone With the Wind again.
  17. Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.

Career

  1. Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
  2. Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
  3. Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
  4. Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
  5. Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
  6. Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
  7. Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
  8. Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.

Things That Scare Me

  1. Sing karaoke
  2. Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
  3. Get another tattoo.

Finances

  1. Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
  2. Save at least $5,000.
  3. Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
  4. Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
  5. Write a will and a living will.

Home

  1. Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
  2. Set up a home office.
  3. Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
  4. Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
  5. Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
  6. Style our bedroom.
  7. Style our living room.
  8. Buy an actual address book and use it.
  9. Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.

Fashion/Beauty

  1. Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
  2. Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
  3. Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
  4. Get a pedicure.
  5. Find the perfect little black dress.
  6. Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
  7. Find my “signature scent.”
  8. Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.

 End date: September 27, 2016    

 

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My Life: What’s Up

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What’s New:

  • Daniel and I were married in a small, beautiful and perfect ceremony on July 20th, 2013, and then celebrated with an intimate formal reception. I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • We went on a mini-moon around Ohio during which we attended minor league baseball games, shopped, went to the movies, ate a lot of delicious food, and visited our alma mater.
  • We had an amazing picnic reception with our extended family and friends on July 27th. Again, I’ll share a link to our professional photos when they are available on our photographer’s site!
  • Back to work and everyday life as newlyweds and we’re loving it!

What I am…

  • Reading: City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman (not my favorite so far but still enjoying it!) and Truman by David McCullough (loving this, just soooo long!)
  • Watching (TV): Dan & I binge-watched Community earlier this summer and loved it! Now I’m catching up on last season of Parks & Recreation.
  • Watching (movie): On our minimoon, Dan and I saw Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2. Pacific Rim was all-around entertaining (loved the music!), World War Z totally freaked me out but was awesome, and while I did not enjoy Despicable Me 2 as much as the original, it was cute and funny.
  • Listening to: The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles (beautiful and chill but boosts my mood), The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake (JT can do no wrong), and Pioneer by The Band Perry (my favorite new music purchase of the year!)
  • Doing for fitness: I recently officially became a Tone It Up! member. I had been following the community along from a distance for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. After the wedding, things slowed down tremendously and I feel so much more settled and content. I began walking 2-4 miles everyday and eating less processed foods in smaller portions. My anxiety has been much easier to manage and I’ve felt much more positive. Tone It Up! (TIU) is all about eating clean and exercising regularly, so it just felt right for me at this time. I’ll keep you updated on my journey! Loving it so far!
  • Posting: I have a fitness Twitter account I have shared on this blog before, but I changed my username recently from @getfitgetstrong to @kcdaily_fit. In addition to my personal Instagram @beagleandbear (which I am a bit obsessed with), I created a fitness Instagram @beagleandbear_fit for my TIU check-ins and to connect with the TIU community more. Feel free to follow me!
  • Loving: my new running shoes and feeling better running than in the past, the last few weeks of relaxing summer, longs walks with Madison and listening to my favorite podcast, cooking different rice bowl variations, the Cleveland Indians (despite their recent – now broken – losing streak), the approach of a fresh school year, and new pieces of furniture and decor here and there that are making our apartment truly look and feel like home.

What is new with you? 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 17

Hello, everyone! I know posts have been lacking for way too long. My apologies! Things have gotten way crazy with searching for a full-time teaching position, getting ready to move into Dan and I’s first home together (an awesome townhouse!), and finishing wedding plans (we’re less than two months away from the big day!!!). What have you been up to?

In March I began Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge, and I’d like to finish that up (and post more)! Today’s prompt: Why and when did you start blogging?

This prompt is kind of ironic considering it is the first one I am writing since being absent from the blog for almost two months. Or maybe it’s perfect for a return post? Anyway, I started blogging in the late fall of 2010. As I’ve discussed on the blog, I deal with anxiety. I had a very stressful sophomore year of college, which I followed up with a jammed-pack summer, which I followed up with a not as emotionally stressful but still extremely busy junior year of college. By the end of my junior year, I couldn’t handle it. I needed a break. Even something as simple and happy as coordinating time with friends would drive me to tears. I wanted freedom, and I wanted it in the form of time to myself. A rational and practical and normal individual would have taken maybe just one month off of work to indulge such desires and recharge. Since I was not being rational or practical (and let’s be real, I struggle with both of those concepts when I am not having a breakdown), I was like, “THAT’S IT I’M TAKING THE WHOLE SUMMER OFF NO ONE CAN STOP ME.” This would have been a great idea if the summer then involved tons of traveling to places I’ve never been, lots of late nights with friends, plenty of volunteering, crossing long-awaited tasks off my to-do list, etc. However, it didn’t involve any of that, because all my friends were either (a) completing an out-of-state/city internship, (b) studying abroad, or (c) working a full-time job and supporting themselves like responsible young adults. It also didn’t involve any of that because I was an idiot. I should have been volunteering or doing something meaningful with my time, but instead I was just sitting on my couch watching all the seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender and reading Glamour.com. I’m pretty sure I should have been seeing a counselor because I was totally unmotivated to do anything to enrich my life, I just wanted to shut down and hide from the world (which I found out later was a combination of being on the wrong medication for my anxiety and being undiagnosed with anemia). In any case, Glamour lead me to A  CUP OF JO, which is written by Joanna Goddard, who used to write for the blogs on Glamour. A CUP OF JO in turn lead me to a bunch of other blogs, and now my summer days also consisted, in addition to watching cartoons made for children and taking long naps, of reading blogs.

So far this story sounds like I am saying I had a nervous breakdown (true), became a lazy hermit (true), and blogs consumed my time (true). However, reading the blogs inspired me to branch out more. Not necessarily during the Lost Summer (which is what I call the months I wasted on my couch in 2010), but in the fall, when by default I had to rejoin the rest of the world during my last year of college. I became super busy again, but still read blogs whenever I could. Eventually, I was like, “I am going to start a blog! I love blogs! They inspire me! Maybe a creative outlet is what I need to manage my stress and not be driven to being a lazy hermit again!” So I started Beagle & Bear, and while I don’t always write consistently, I write. And whenever I do, I do feel enriched. I feel like I’ve had time to myself in a “friendly neighbor” way, not a “lazy hermit” way. It’s why I don’t let myself get worked up about missing posts here or there or for long stretches of time. Blogging is fun for me. I have enough obligations and goals, and I don’t want something I use to recharge to become yet another one. I think we all have a hobby like that in our lives. What’s yours?

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 16

For the month of March, I am participating in Fabulous Finds by Tiffany’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Today’s prompt: What’s your biggest accomplishment?

This question is hard for me. I’m not entirely sure which accomplishment is my absolute “biggest,” but these are the ones that run through my head when I try to decide upon one:

  • The progress I have made (and continue to make) with coping with my anxiety. I know a lot of people probably think that I still get overwhelmed unnecessarily, and I agree that is true, but the change in how I react, both outwardly and inwardly, when that happens is substantial.
  • Earning my bachelor’s degree with honors. It took a lot of tears, naps, caffeine, notecards, highlighters, and summer classes, but I did it.
  • As a member of PCC (now ECCO), I created and executed a curriculum night for a Toledo elementary school from scratch, led two more, and then passed it on to someone else to chair. It is still an event ECCO does regularly.
  • Paying off my student loans. I’m not done yet but I feel a sense of accomplishment with every payment I make now since I had to defer them for the first year out of college. 
  • Being a district substitute. Not only is it a valuable position to the district, but it’s a great opportunity at this point in my career, and one that I truly feel like I had to work hard to gain.
  • Buying a car. Ever since I started driving, I have driven 10+ year old Buicks passed down from my parents. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for those cars, and actually really enjoyed driving them. But last week, I found out I either had to buy a new motor for the current old Buick I was driving, or buy a new car. Dan and I went car shopping and bought a 2010 Honda Civic. It was thrilling. We handled the whole process without aid from our parents. Most importantly, we did it together. It was exciting to do something so big as a couple, and it was exciting to have the power in determining my vehicle choice.

I look forward to being able to add things like, “building a strong swim program,” “getting healthier,” “creating a home together,” “paying off the Honda,” “earning my masters degree,” and “getting hired as a full-time teacher” to my list in the future : )

What are your biggest accomplishments?

my life: keep moving forward

 

I graduated from college with a degree in 7-12 social studies education in May 2011. I spent all last summer applying for jobs and not getting one (since my degree is in an oversaturated licensure area for my home state of Ohio). I accepted a job outside of my licensure area at a charter school based on promises and pure panic of the unknown. The job turned out to be a bad fit for my career aspirations and my strengths and passions. Add in family issues, and I quit two months later. I’ve been coaching and subbing the past school year, and I truly loved it. It was really hard, but I felt like it was what I needed my first year out of college.

However, I’m back into the job search again now that it’s summer and schools are again searching for new hires. I’ve been rejected from the only three full-time positions I have received interviews for and have been crying my eyes out, doubting myself. I keep thinking: “Why did I choose this degree? It’s my passion and I’m good at it, but there aren’t any jobs in Ohio. When I was 18 and had never lived outside of my childhood home, I thought I’d be okay moving states away for a job. Five years later, everything is different and I know that’s not right for me at this point. But I have student loan debt! And I’m planning a wedding and living with my parents! What am I going to do? Should I completely change my career? My resume and references are so solid, why does no one want me?” And everyone – friends, coworkers, people I’ve just met – has some opinion on my life: “Why would you major in such a populated field?” “You know, there’s plenty of jobs in Texas.” “Why do you want to be in public education with the changes going on?” “You’d make a great lawyer. Have you thought about law school?” “You’re too young to be married.” “You have plenty of time before you need to settle down.” etc., etc.

 

 

I know, despite the stresses I’ve mentioned, that I am extremely blessed. My life is spared from incredible hardships that so many others have to navigate, oftentimes with less than ideal resources. But it’s hard, it’s so hard, to not get bogged down in a pity party. To look at what others my age have achieved and the life they’ve settled into and not feel like I must be doing something wrong if I can’t get there, too.

So I let myself have a pity party. I normally try to limit my moping to one day per bad news item/setback. Back-to-back bad news yesterday and Monday lead to two depressed days in a row – but that’s enough. Time to keep moving forward.

I’m going to practice gratitude and look on the bright side. I’m going to keep applying for teaching positions but (try) not to obsess over the whole process. I’m going to have faith that things will work out in a favorable way as long as I continue to work hard and pursue challenging opportunities that bring out my strengths, feed my passion, and bring me joy.

It will be okay. I am blessed. Life is good.

 

 

 

P.S. Special thanks to Daniel and my best friends for their kind words, as well as to favorite blogger Jess for this post. I needed a bit of a nudge to buck up and keep going : )

my life: today’s my 23rd birthday

 

 

After my sophomore year of and graduation from college (both major milestones in my life), I didn’t think I’d have another “milestone year” until my first year as a full-time teacher. Or the year I got married. Or the year I lived totally on my own. Something like that. However, while nothing like that happened to me this year, but I still consider my 22nd year – one in which I got rejected from jobs, accepted my first full-time job and moved, quit my first full-time job and moved again, got rejected from some more jobs, got engaged, became a high school head coach, and worked part-time as a substitute teacher (despite my need and best efforts to gain more hours), only to start the whole full-time job search over again just like last summer – to have been one of the most important years in my life. 

I learned SO MUCH. I learned how truly stressful all of life can be when money is tight and you are living a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. I learned how to let go of the money worries, do my best, and trust it will be okay. I learned how very lucky and blessed I am to have supportive parents and future in-laws who are willing to help me out while the education job market is tight. And at swim meets. And planning my wedding. And pretty much anything I go to them for. I learned that $2.75 beers of the month and $1.29 Redboxes add just as much fun and memories to a night as $5.50 craft brews and $10.00 movie tickets. I learned I can handle almost every age group or subject in grades 7-12 and if a lane line breaks in the middle of a swim meet I won’t have a breakdown. I learned to always ask a question if you don’t know what you’re doing and never to apologize for it. I learned I missed the city of Bowling Green and Northwest Ohio even more than I anticipated I would. I learned how to be in a long-distance relationship with someone I used to be with for hours every day. I learned to say “no” sometimes and not feel (too) bad. I learned how to stop making excuses and just do what I need to do. I learned I’m going to screw up and mistakes are stressful but you just have to keep moving forward. I learned that just because life isn’t going the exact way you wish it was, doesn’t mean it’s not truly beautiful.

Yes, I’m working on getting my career where I want it to be, planning a wedding, and getting healthy, all while spending as much time with loved ones as I can. It can be overwhelming at times, but my life is so full of joy. I can’t wait to see what lessons and memories 23 brings me.

 

get fit get strong: where there’s a will, there’s a way

Hello, everyone! How are you? Sorry for missing a Weekly Gems post this weekend – I was   out of town for a girls’ weekend with my friend Elizabeth. We went back to our alma mater for the first time in a year. I missed the campus and city so much, it was great to be back!

 

 

 

A great thing happened today. I was in a weird and tired mood all day yesterday and today, but headed to the gym this evening anyway. The last time I ran, I hadn’t eaten much all day, I kept stumbling on the treadmill, and could barely run for more than four minutes at a time.

Today was different. I slept better last night, ate more but healthy foods throughout the day, and stayed hydrated. When I got to the gym, I went on the elliptical for about 27 minutes (1.9 miles). Then I went on the treadmill. I re-warmed up for about 2 minutes, then started running. Go for 5 minutes then break, I told myself. I was feeling good at the end of 5 minutes, so I increased the speed on the treadmill and thought, do 5 more. And I just kept going. I varied the speed throughout to get a bit of cardio interval-type training going. I  focused on my breathing and kept my iPod on upbeat songs only. AND I RAN FOR 1.25 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING.

I understand that is not a great deal of distance. I also understand my pace was pretty darn slow. However, I don’t think I have ever run that far without stopping. Ever. Not even when I was middle school track and field. Definitely not when I was a varsity athlete in  high school (I believe my mantra was “I’m a swimmer, not a runner!”).

I have a lot of weight to lose to be at a healthy BMI. Yes, changing my diet is hard. Much harder than getting off my butt and exercising. The thing is, I truly enjoy exercising. It’s challenging, though, because I was an athlete. I was in excellent shape, and now I’m not. I’m much further from where I used to be than I ever thought I would be. Though I do get excited when I do well during a workout, it’s extremely bittersweet to be happy about accomplishing fitness tasks I once had mastered or surpassed. That’s why today was so exciting: I accomplished something I never did when I was an athlete. And that probably isn’t because I couldn’t do it when I was in great shape – I never did it because I never pushed myself hard enough to get past my mental roadblocks.

Running 1.25 miles today was great because I did something positive for my body and made forward strides in my quest to be healthy. But it was awesome because it proved that while my athletic ability might have gotten a bit weaker over the years, my mind has gotten nothing but stronger.

 

 

things i’m afraid to tell you

 

 

Recently a blogger movement has come about called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. The posts from participating bloggers have been so uplifting. I really admire that the risk everyone has taken by sharing very personal aspects of their life and putting themselves, 100%, into the blogging community.

For a long time, I was too nervous to put myself 100% into anything because I thought my anxiety would become wholly overwhelming again. So I went way too far in the opposite direction; I became complacent about my life. Living every day holding back. Recently, I’ve come around. I know I’m strong enough to give my all without anxiety breaking me. No holding back anymore. Not in life, not on this blog. Which leads me to the only thing I am truly afraid to tell you:

I gained a lot of weight in college, due to various circumstances combined with just plain awful habits. I need to lose 55 pounds to be at my heaviest high school weight and the highest range of a healthy BMI. That number seems truly unreal to me. I never thought I would be the type of person who put on a large amount of weight and then spent years trying to get rid of it. I still don’t feel like that’s the type of person I am, but somehow that’s the situation in which I find myself. I have been unhappy with my health and appearance for years now, but have not taken strong action to change it until recently. I don’t know why. Not too much in my life has actually changed. There wasn’t a massive catalyst, at least not that it felt like. It was a series of small events: reading an article that made me realize I have (and always have had, even in high school at a healthy weight) weird and unhealthy habits with food; an article that made truly understand the science between anxiety and exercise; a friend honestly telling me how much weight she estimates I gained based on my appearance alone; coaching swimming in the same pool I used to race in and wanting to be a good role model for my swimmers; a Jenny Craig commercial that said “When you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t take care of yourself”; realizing my unhealthy habits passed onto Madison. MADISON. MY DOG. She trusts me to take care of her and I messed up. I know my unhealthy habits affect my daily life and therefore my interactions with people, especially those I live with and spend the most time with, like my family, Dan, and best friends, sometimes in disastrous ways. But for some reason, realizing my bad habits hurt my dog, who never did anything but love me and depends on me to take care of her, was the lowest point of this years-long…thing. Not struggle, ordeal, battle, journey…all those sound way too complicated or difficult or self-important for what has been going on with me. My life is not that hard. I have extremely supportive, accepting, and loving family, fiance and friends. I have a place to live rent-free as long as I need. I have a job I enjoy. I have a college degree. I have a car, a phone, a computer. I have health insurance that I’ve never had to use for anything worse than a torn ACL when I was 15. To not be as healthy as I can potentially be, and use my good health and the blessings in my life to be the best person, daughter, fiance, friend, neighbor, teacher, coach, pet owner, etc. makes me feel so ashamed. It is flat-out unacceptable. And I have known for years that it is unacceptable, and have tried to fix it with many false starts. But this time is different. Because this time, I’m finally not afraid to tell you the whole story.