NoMoreTomorrows

Surviving is not Living

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Living Up to an Impossible Standard

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Click image to see difference

 

Yesterday, someone I follow on Facebook posted a link to this photo. From there a discussion followed about how we should never compare ourselves to fake images of people.

More examples of photo-shopped images.

My first thought was to say, yes, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to fake images, but we also shouldn’t be comparing ourselves at all, to anyone. I have definitely been guilty of this.  I started my journey around the same time that other people started, and some of them are farther than I am. They’ve lost more weight, can run further distances, and have gotten farther in their journeys. It’s easy to judge myself against their success and feel like a failure, like I’m not good enough. The truth is, I didn’t always put in the effort I could have, and they did. That’s why they’re further along.  It doesn’t make them better and me worse. It simply means we made different choices. I can’t compare myself to others. I can only compare myself to me.

Before – I couldn’t walk up the stairs to my apartment without getting winded.  I couldn’t go on a 5 minute walk, or complete more than a couple minutes of a workout video. I was eating fast food at least 3 times a day and drinking 600-1000 calories of soda most days. I had outgrown size 24 jeans.

Now – I can run up and down my stairs with ease. I can complete a 30 minute walk/jog with 1 minute jogging intervals. I can hold a plank in yoga. I never drink more than 1 soda per day and am working on limiting that also. I love fruits and veggies and eat fast food only a couple times a week. I am wearing size 22 pants that are starting to have give in them.

I look at that progress and I’m pretty happy. And when I look back again 3 months from now, I know I’ll have even more to report.

My other thought came from misinterpreting a comment. I thought someone was saying that the media will never change how they edit images. And I responded that that was true. The media is not going to change. Photo shop will continue to be used. And I don’t think our energy should be used in battling them, but in loving each other and reminding each other daily to live up to our own expectations. We can’t change the media, but we can change ourselves.

I challenge all of us to continue to remind each other that those images aren’t what we should be aspiring to, because they’re not real. What we should be aspiring to is being the best version of ourselves that we can be.  Stop berating yourself for not living up to an impossible standard.

I promise to remind you of that if you will remind me too. Deal?

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Written by No More Tomorrows

December 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons

This is My Now

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Wowsers. I cannot believe it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written anything. I go to other pages and see they haven’t written in awhile and I get worried that they’ve slipped and aren’t doing well in their journey. However, if you follow my facebook “fan” page (weird to call it that) you’ll see that I’ve actually had a GREAT couple of weeks.

11/20 Weighin – down 4 pounds

11/27 Weighin – down 2 pounds

So, since I kicked things back into gear this month, I’ve seen results. And it feels amazing. So far on this journey I have lost 26 pounds, which puts my current weight at 294.  It still sucks to put that high of a number down, and to know it could be so much lower had I stuck to my hard work and not let myself backslide. But I made a decision when I started this journey that I’m not going back. Every pound that comes off my body will never be put back on. I’m not going back to what I used to be.

There was a time I packed my dreams away
Living in a shell, hiding from myself

There was a time when I was so afraid
I thought I’d reached the end, baby that was then
But I am made of more than my yesterdays

I got off work early and headed for a walk/run. I went to the track that’s a couple blocks from my house. I’ve been jogging the curves and walking the straights on the track, until I build up to be able to run entire laps. Half way through the workout I was almost in tears. Finishing up and walking back home, the tears were harder to ward off.

I had to decide, was I gonna to play it safe?
Or look somewhere deep inside, try to turn the tide
And find the strength to take that step of faith?

It’s not easy to push through exhaustion. It’s been my thing to give up on everything that is hard. It’s been the thing I do to take the easy way out. Making myself continue running when my lungs and legs are burning is uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy it. The other day I was holding plank (in yoga) and set my knees down when it started to hurt. I had to berate myself “Carrie, stop quitting!” And I got back up and held it the rest of the time, while I was shaking, and hurting, and struggling.

But I have a courage like never before, yeah
I’ve settled for less, but I’m ready for more
Ready for more!

This is my now and I am breathing in the moment
As I look around I can’t believe the love I see
My fear’s behind me, gone are the shadows and doubt
That was then, this is my now!

But as I was walking home from the track that day I had to face facts. This wouldn’t have been so difficult if I had started before now. I was overweight my whole life, but for about a third of it, I was the same weight plus or minus 10 pounds. It wasn’t until a year ago, at the weight I swore would be my heaviest, I put on an additional 40 pounds in less than 6 months. Call it stress, call it depression, call it whatever you want to call it, but if I had started then, I wouldn’t have had those extra 40 pounds to take off.

Now, instead of 140 pounds I wanted to lose, I have 180.  Now I have that much harder to work, when it could have been just a little bit easier before to start and get it done. I never would have had to know what it was like to see 300 on the scale. Do you know what it’s like? It’s hell. That’s what it is. It’s facing the fact that you’ve completely lost control.

So this is it for me. I refuse to look back a year from now, 50 pounds heavier, and wish I had started now.  And I’m asking you to do the same. Don’t give yourself a holiday pass. Don’t wait for new years. Don’t wait for the money to get a gym membership, or the doctor to call you back about surgery, or your chance at the Biggest Loser, etc. Start now. Whatever it is.

This is my now, and I’m not looking back. And I’m asking you to join me.

*Lyrics for This is My Now, performed by Jordin Sparks

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Biggest Loser Week in Review: Episode 3

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I finally watched this week’s episode of the Biggest Loser. I don’t know if you watch the show and have watched previous seasons, but as someone who started in season 3 and has watched everything since, I have to say, I’m starting to lose the love. Am I the only one?

I don’t know if it’s the drama, or Jillian not being there, or if the behind the scenes people have changed, but it’s not the same show I’ve watched before. Usually I find myself connecting to the contestants and picking out a few favorites in the first episode or two. This season I really can’t think of even one I’m all that drawn to. I’m starting to think I’m only watching because of:

Don't you just want to lick his abs? Oh, is that just me?

Him.

The show still inspires me a little, and it still makes me think about myself and my journey. But it’s not really teaching me anything new and I don’t have a contestant I’ve invested my interest in to see their journey.  I’m feeling disappointed.

It was NFL week on the Biggest Loser this week, so at their first challenge and at their last chance workout, there were NFL players present. Of course this made Antone talk again of his NFL days and about how badly he’s let himself go. All of his tears seem so fake. And I’m left feeling like I want to tell him to man the eff up and stop crying. It’s not that I am of the ridiculous belief that “real men don’t cry” but I am of the belief that “real men don’t cry for dramatics”, which is all I’m feeling from him, whiny dramatic fake tears.

Courtney of the black team won the individual challenge, which amounted to her getting $5,000, a nice prize.

In the team challenge they were to work out for 4 quarters. 15 minutes of a workout, followed by a 10 minute rest, for 4 repetitions. Their challenge was who could burn the most average calories as a team during those 4 quarters. As usual, black team won, followed by red, and blue team came up last. The black team won a spa day, which they happened to turn down in the interest of keeping their minds focused on their weightloss and not getting distracted.

I literally laughed out loud during “halftime” when Ramone, during his interview, said “This is where we bring the pain. This is where we win.” More dramatics. I’m not watching the show for fake inspiration and motivation. If you’re naturally motivating and entertaining then awesome. But I don’t need something forced. Everything feels forced. Fake.

I was pretty intrigued by the calories burnt though. Even the blue team coming in last burned 764 calories. Burning 764 calories a day for 5 days a week would get you to 3500 calories which is a pound. An hour a day is really beneficial when it comes to weightloss. It’s not the only thing, but it would be a big contribution. Everybody has an hour in their day they could do it. I really believe that.

During the challenge Jessica mostly did spinning. That mixed with whatever else she did during the week helped her lose 11 pounds at the weigh in! ELEVEN! I have a feeling that spinning really is a good workout. My girly bits are screaming at me for even considering a spinning class, but I know it’s a good idea. I have it on my radar. Girly bits be damned.

Jennifer, who was instructed to not do any weight bearing exercises managed to drop 16 pounds in a week. Okay, so what’s our excuses? She can’t walk, run, do jumping jacks, etc but she lost 16 pounds with her workout variations. That’s pretty phenomenal.

Bonnie made me cry when she was on the scale. After a couple weeks of real struggles on the scale, she pulled out a 7 pound weightloss. She looked right at the camera and said she was 63 years old and still did it, even though it was a slow weightloss, “So get off the couch and start doing something, no matter how old you are.”  It’s true. Excuses aren’t getting us anywhere. Nobody is too old to do it, and doing it will only extend your life.

The red team lost the weigh in. And this is where I pretty much decided that it’s the red team that is the source of most of the dramatics. Pretty much all the teams have always had tears when it comes to voting someone off. You’re changing your life right beside people. You’re going to bond, and it’s going to be hard to send someone home. I get that. But red team took it to ridiculous heights

It was kinda like…

'Nuff Said

They ended up sending Patrick home by a vote of 3-2. In the update I was really happy for Patrick. He started at the ranch at 387 pounds, and in the update he was down to 296. I think when he comes back for the marathon he’ll be one of the people to beat.

By the way, the previews from next week show Dolvett riled up about losing. He’s even sexier when he’s angry.

Stay tuned.

Written by No More Tomorrows

October 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Conquering Fear

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I know what it is to be afraid.  Fear has been an anchor in my life for as long as I can remember.

The high dive at the local swimming pool. The bumps and creaks in the night. Being outdoors and worrying about stings and bites and poisonous plants. Revealing a crush to a boy. Leaving the country for the first time. Getting on a plane for the first time.

As I got older, life happened and I saw fear reveal itself so much stronger and bigger than it had before.

The loss of my son that made me afraid to ever try being a mother again.

I remember before it happened to me, I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to someone, to be a parent and lose a child. I was right.

And a close second to that fear, came the one of losing your partner, a significant other in your life. I heard stories of young couples losing their spouse, or their girl/boy friend. A couple years back, two different couples I know of said goodbye to their partners near Christmas. Both very young and relatively new in their marriages. I had never had a serious relationship to where that fear was as close to my heart as it could be, but I knew that the loss must be a devastating one.

I posted before about Jennie losing her husband suddenly. As I am now in the midst of the most amazing relationship, that fear has hit me hard for the first time. I found her blog and her story around the same time we were waiting on results from my man’s biopsy.  I sat in fear every day, waiting for the results, and pissed that after all this time and finally discovering this amazing man, that he might be taken away from me. I was so afraid.  More afraid of losing him to cancer than I had been to losing him because I wasn’t good enough.

Thankfully there was no cancer.

I look at Jennie’s blog nearly every day. It would be easy to avoid it so that I didn’t have the thoughts in my head about losing my love.  And I know many women who try to avoid stories of miscarriage and stillbirth so as to not have those thoughts in their head while they’re pregnant. I know how I felt after losing my son, like I was the dark shadow in the corner reminding them what could happen. I felt contagious. Shame.

It’s easy to be afraid. Have you watched television lately? Everything seems to be telling us to be afraid.

But I just don’t want to live in fear of “what if” anymore.

I can’t control whether I’m ever going to lose a child again. I can’t control if other loved ones are going to die. I can’t make the world into the perfect world I’d like to live in.

So instead, I choose to live life well. I choose to make the most of the people I have in my life, while I have them. I choose to love instead of hate, and be filled with joy and optimism instead of negativity. I choose to make decisions that will make my life amazing, instead of worrying what might happen if I take a risk.

I will pour myself into my relationships, with my man, my friends, my family. I will go after projects that I don’t think I’m good enough for. I will write and blog consistently, knowing some will be good and some won’t. I will run. I will chase health and life. I will talk to strangers.

I will live. Without Fear. Because any other way just isn’t good enough.

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

September 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

Posted in Fear, Inspiration, Writing

“My” season of the Biggest Loser week 1

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Season Premiere Week!! Welcome Back!!

And last but not least…

THE BIGGEST LOSER!!

This is actually the season I auditioned for. It’s interesting watching it now, because had I made it, I’d actually be among these people, minus one, because I’d be in their place.

This season is about age. Does it matter in weightloss? That’s supposed to be what the show proves, that age is nothing but a number. I think past seasons have proven that, since not all the winners have been 20 somethings, and even a couple of the older contestants ended up winning the at home prize, which meant not only did they show up the youngsters, but they also did it while being at home, doing it on their own for most of the journey. But since the Biggest Loser is always looking for an angle, that’s the theme this year.

I have been addicted to this show since Season 3, and I know it’s reality tv, I know it isn’t 100% real, and I know that a 20 pound loss in a week (or a biggest loser week) isn’t realistic. All the negatives aside, I enjoy this show. So I set the DVR for Tuesday night and had the chance to watch it last night.  Here’s a recap…

    *SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*SPOILERS*

The show starts with dropping off the new contestants in the desert. Alison greets them and in flies the trainers.

Bob Harper, Anna Kournikova, Dolvett Quince

Bob is the seasoned one. I like him as a trainer and he knows how to get results. Anna was announced at last season’s finale and everyone threw a fit, including me, but more on her later. Then there’s Dolvett.   Mmmmm Dolvett. You mean I missed out on the chance to have HIM as a trainer??!! That’s the moment I got really angry that I didn’t make the show. I mean, LOOK AT HIM!  Can’t you just picture it? I win the 250,000, weighing a sexy 140, confetti rains down on my head, and he runs up and proposes. It’s a beautiful scene playing in my head. Truly.

Wait… what was I saying?

Oh yes, the show.

So the trainers are introduced and then whisked back away, a mile to be exact, to the finish line of the challenge they’re about to compete in. The contestants are told that this season is the season about age and divides them into their teams, the young, the middle, and the oldest. Then Alison tells them they get to pick their trainer, but to do so they must race to them. The middles finish first, picking Bob. The youngest are next, picking Dolvett (SEE, he would have even been my trainer!!), and the oldest getting Anna. I felt bad for them right then and there. The oldest need a professional trainer, not the newbie with no training experience. I had a feeling they’d not do well.

When the race was over, Alison announced that this is where their journey began, and it would also be where it ended, because at the end of the season, every one of them will get to come back and run a marathon, and the winner of that marathon will go on to be a finalist. That’s right! Even if you get sent home week 1, you still get to come back and compete to be a finalist.

They get to the ranch and get into their first workout. There’s all the drama that the first workout always has, everybody wants to quit. People cry. Trainers yell. Most contestants end up crumpled on the floor asking to stop.

Anna Anna Anna…  Why?

Now, it’s easy to see in the show that Anna is a sweet girl, and probably wants to help out here team to actually make it. But this is where we see, just because you’re an athlete yourself, doesn’t mean you’re cut out to train others and whip them into shape. She didn’t look effective. She looked like she was taking it easy on them. This is the Biggest Loser, not Curves. That means you kick their ass no matter what age they are.

One of the contestants on the oldest team, Becky learns that her father has just passed away. She did what we all need to do when we’re upset or stressed, she went to work out. That is a lesson I need to learn immediately. Stress doesn’t equal chocolate. Stress equals, go work your ass off and sweat a bit.

Becky went home for her dad’s funeral, then everybody had their last chance workout, and then came the scale. The oldest team did about as well as I assumed they would. They lost a total of 49 pounds between the 5 of them, with Johnny losing the most at -17 and Bonnie losing the least at -4.

Bob’s middle team weighs in next, blowing away the Blue team by losing a combined total of 126 pounds, with John losing 37, and the smallest being Sunny, still at an impressive -16 pounds.

Dolvett’s red team was last, and although they didn’t win the weigh in, they blew the Blue team away too with an 89 pound loss. Vinny was the biggest loser with -21 and Patrick was right behind him with -20.

They retreated back to the house so that the Blue team could meet and plead to stay. Johnny could not be sent home since he was the biggest loser. I wondered how the team would play it. Would they get rid of Bonnie since she lost the least? Becky since she showed she could be home and still lost 10 pounds? Would Mike do the respectful thing that a lot of men do to look after women and sacrifice himself to go home? Or would it be Debbie because, well, if we’re being honest here, in reality television, black contestants never seem to make it that far.

Yes I went there.

So, they’re discussing not wanting to go home, and Debbie starts to talk about having support at home, and being okay. I was thinking that was pretty nice of her. Then she tells Bonnie it’s annoying how much she cries.

…..

I have to say this. Dating outside of my race, and loving a black man, and by default loving his people, makes me very sensitive to how people of different races are portrayed or perceived by white people. I have a face palm moment every time things like this happen. All I could think watching this play out, was that I was sure that there were many people sitting at home, who never knew a black person before, sitting there in judgement that their stereotypical opinions had just been validated by Debbie (the black woman) picking on Bonnie (the white woman). It was frustrating.   Now, because my preconceived ideas about race have dissipated in my life from my experiences, I just saw it as a woman being catty and ridiculous to another woman about something petty. But I know what others might have seen. And I was annoyed.

Back to the recap…

They are at the elimination room, and it played out about how I expected it to.  By a vote of 3 to 2, Debbie was the first contestant eliminated from the Biggest Loser.  In the follow up, she did about as I had expected, because sometimes you can just tell if a person is going to make it on their own or not. Debbie weighed 239 when she walked on the ranch, and after a week, had gotten down 6 pounds. Since leaving the ranch, she’s lost another 13 pounds, which is pretty miniscule compared to what others often lose in that time frame. Good for her for losing, but I think a lot more would have been possible.

The show left me thinking about me. I tried to get on this season. A part of me was sad watching it, knowing I could have been there. I can do it on my own, and I’ve shown that with the 25 pounds I’ve lost so far. But it would have been nice to have that time away, to get it taken care of quicker with no distractions, and to have won 250,000 dollars (because I know I would have been the winner, I just do). But then it hit me. Drew. I have had the most amazing time getting to know him and being with him. And it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been here. I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve had with him for anything in the world. So thank you Biggest Loser casting for not choosing me, because I can’t imagine missing out on this time.

Stay tuned for next week and my review of the show.

Do you watch The Biggest Loser? What’s your favorite show on the fall lineup?

Written by No More Tomorrows

September 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Consistency

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September 15th Weigh In

295

-3 

-25 lost to date

Dance Baby, Dance!!

Hello little blog of mine, I didn’t forget you. You aren’t abandoned. I was sick last week, and down, and busy, and don’t have internet at my house and try not to be on my phone when I’m home so that I can show my Man that he’s important to me and give him my attention.

I have a lot of excuses. Some legitimate, but also, I slacked. I just was really in a funk and couldn’t get myself to concentrate long enough to write anything. I hope you’re all still around. I enjoy talking to you, even if it often feels like a one-sided conversation. That’s not a cry for comments (okay maybe a little) but really, I do enjoy blogging and getting my words out there. I have a desire to matter, to leave something behind, to pass on knowledge, to encourage others the way I have been encouraged. I’m a big believer in paying it forward. I think our world would be so much better if everyone felt the same way.

Speaking of leaving something behind, I was listening to Beyonce on Pandora this morning and her song “I Was Here” came on. I thought of me, and the rest of the blog world. Isn’t that at least one reason we do it? To leave something behind? Because we’re worried about being forgotten when our time on this earth ends? So we leave behind something for our great grand children to know us by (Will they have internet then?).

I feel like I’m at a crossroads right now in my life. They happen. It’s the point in which you grow, if you make the right choices. Truly though I don’t know if there are as many “wrong” choices as we tend to think. People hesitate to make a choice a lot of the time because they’re afraid they’ll make the wrong one. The wrong choice is just not making a choice at all. Don’t be stagnant, MOVE FORWARD. If the choice you made wasn’t the best one, then make a different one when things don’t work out. There’s not a magic point in our lives when we choose the “right ” thing and then life begins. Life is happening NOW, so grab it by the balls and go.

Just sayin’

I struggle with consistency, with finishing things. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s doubt. I don’t really know. But I give up easily. It is time to focus my energy on being consistent, on sticking with something no matter how difficult it gets, until I’ve accomplished it. Relationships, running, weight loss, plant based eating, self employment, etc.

A fabulous life is mine for the taking. Yours too. And we have nobody but ourselves to blame if we lose out on something because we didn’t keep swimming.

Keep swimming.

Written by No More Tomorrows

September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

A Fund for Jennie

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I discovered internet communities very early on in the internet age. I was in high school and had joined an online community for Christian teenagers. I “met” some pretty amazing people on that site. I understood kindred spirits, or Soul Friends. It wasn’t weird to me to be talking to people in a box that I never met face to face. I was able to connect with people, my age, going through similar things as I was, talking about things I liked. It seemed so natural. It never seemed odd.

The first time I crossed the internet veil into in-person meeting was my sophomore year of college. One of the guys from that site went to a college not far from mine and we decided to go to a movie. Nothing romantic, just something to do. It didn’t seem odd to meet him. It made me nervous, because I didn’t know how an online friendship would transcribe in person, but it wasn’t weird. We had had deep conversations, meaningful conversations. I felt like I knew him, and that he knew me. We had fun.

Since then I have wondered into various dimensions of online communities, more message boards, blogs, dating sites, etc and found people I connected with. Some I have met face to face, some are still just internet friends until the day we pass each other’s way and I hope to share coffee or such with them. There are people who I have been on the phone with at 2 am crying my eyes out, or vice versa with me being the listening ear. There are people all over the world with whom I am totally in love with as people and some of whom I’ve never seen face to face. To some that would be odd, but I know there are those of you who understand.

This very idea has been put into practice recently via Bloggers Without Borders. I recently discovered a new blogger when others that I had read mentioned a woman in the blogging community who had just suddenly lost her husband. I went to her site and have been reading it all the time since, with a heart that breaks everytime I do. She writes beautifully, and she captures her emotions in a way that only the best of writers can do. In Jennie’s Kitchen used to be a food blog. If you go back in her archives you will see plenty of drool-worthy eats. But now she shares about her husband, the last memories she has of him, and the road she is now forced to walk without him. Bloggers Without Borders has set up A Fund For Jennie. It was not only Jennie who was left without her husband, but her two young daughters were also left without their father. The blogging community has pulled together to raise money for the family.

It’s a beautiful thing to see what others will do for people they’ve never met. I cannot tell you how many times I find myself grateful that the internet exists and that I discovered the many wonderful people who live in my computer. In times where we see how many selfish people there are in the world, it’s beautiful to see the light of the compassionate, making a difference in others’ lives.

I’d also like to ask my readers to take a look and see what you can do to donate for Jennie and her girls. And thank you for being a part of my story and of my journey. Thank you for sharing life with me.

Written by No More Tomorrows

September 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm