Positive Vibes

ImageI am on a major self reflection and self growth kick right now.  I am at a point in my life where everything is great and there isn’t much I can do outside myself to make it better.

Something recently occurred to me. I want to live the best life I possibly can.  I’ve noticed a lot of people are content with the day-to-day grind of living a life they don’t love.  That was me for a very long time.  I don’t want that anymore.  I want to love my life but always strive to make it better.

I honestly have no complaints about my life.

  •       I get along with everyone in my family better than ever and everyone in my family is amazing.
  •       I can honestly say that everyone currently in my life brings something positive to it.
  •       I have an excellent job that allows me to provide a comfortable life for myself.
  •       I have been able to make my home some place I am proud of
  •       I have reliable transportation.
  •       My roommate situation has turned out better than imagined.  My best friend is my roommate and we have no desire to kill each other.
  •       I feel more loved and appreciated by people than ever
  •       I am in a relationship more honest than I thought existed

My life is great and I think the least I can do to show my appreciation for such an amazing life is to better myself so that I can contribute to other peoples lives in a positive way.  If I am as happy as I can be, then maybe that attitude can be contagious to the people around me.

Everyone has bad days, and I know that I will still have bad days and grumpy moods.  The key is to realize that and accept it for what it is,  the bad with the good.

I feel like in the last few months my entire attitude towards life has changed.  I have realized that I kind of actually like myself for the first time I can remember.

I stopped caring if people thought I was silly.  I like all kinds of weird stuff.  Doctor Who, Accessories, Shopping, Nail Polish, Bright Colors, Shoes, and a zillion other things that people giggle at me for.  I think the reason I like myself more now is because I don’t let other peoples opinions of me change who I am.  Sure, it bothers me when someone teases me for wearing neon rainbow sneakers, but I know that the people who care about me, even the ones who tease me, wouldn’t be around if my neon rainbow sneakers bothered them.

I want to start trying all the awesome things I find on the internet.  Self help.  Wellness. Meditation. Healthy foods. Fitness. Creative Stuff.  Everything.  I feel like doing things you’ve never done is always a good thing.  What is the worst that can happen if I decide to try a fancy new recipe?  I’ll have to order pizza.  And having to order pizza is hardly a bad thing.

 

 

Spending Freeze

ImageAs of 7:35pm on January 18th, 2014 I am on a spending freeze for at least one month! I am not allowed to spend money on anything except regular bills (water, power, internet, phone, etc…), gas, and groceries.  No Starbucks visits, no buying lunch, no shopping, no movies, no nothing. 

Why am I going on a spending freeze? 

  • I have entirely too much stuff 
  • I need to learn to find more happiness in what I already have 
  • I could always stand to save some money 
  • I want to see if I can actually do it 

During the freeze I hope to accomplish the following… 

  • Put %35 of each paycheck for the next month into my savings account 
  • Continue to make large payment on credit card from each paycheck 
  • Take this month to purge and get rid of a lot of the things I already have. 

Ideally I will get on a roll and extend the freeze beyond one month but at this time the freeze will end at 7:35pm on February 18th, 2014. Wish me luck!

 

Meatless Monday

Today I practiced my first Meatless Monday.  While I do care about the many health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday, I decided to start it for kind of a weird reason.

As much as I want to better myself I still have a problem with follow through.  I tend to get discouraged and quit before I even really begin.  I have gotten so used to failing myself that I am sabotaging my own success.  Meatless Monday is something I feel is super simple yet still a goal I can say I accomplished.  Baby steps. 

Today was the first day that I intentionally avoided meat.  I am sure there have been days where I didn’t eat meat in the past.  I just wasn’t aware.  My only concern with Meatless Monday was protein.  I need a lot of protein in my diet so I brought the dreaded protein shakes back into my life.  This mornings shake was made with coffee, chocolate protein power, skim milk, and ice and it was surprisingly satisfying.  Throughout the day I snacked on fruit and possibly chocolate. When I got home from work and had dinner I was content and not even hungry but all of a sudden the idea popped into my head that I could steal a bite of that delicious leftover marinated steak from last night out of the fridge and no one would know.  What kind of logic is that?  It amazes me the strange place my mind goes sometimes.  Thankfully I talked myself off the ledge.  

Meatless Monday #1 a success. 

Why Meatless Monday?  It may not solve these problems but it certainly won’t hurt.

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. 

 

Health Benefits 

  • LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer. 

  • REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19% 

  • FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

  • CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain. 

  • LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. 

  • IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat. 

Environmental Benefits 

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend. 

  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound. 

  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand. 

 

Letter To A Year

happy-new-year-smallDear 2013,

You were supposed to be the best year of my life but turned out to be the year that almost killed me.  I was supposed to get married and have the wedding of my dreams.  Instead, my future plans were ripped away from me six weeks before I was supposed to say I Do.  The loss of my best friend and fiancé broke me.  Never in my life have I been in such a dark place, and you 2013, got to witness it.

If it wasn’t for amazing people in my life I am sure that 2013 would have been my end.  Thanks to awesome friends and fantastic family I was able to rebuild my life and myself.  You may have tried to break me 2013, but I can promise you that it will never come that close again.

You taught me so many things.  I learned that I am the only person who should be in control of my happiness.  I learned that I cannot allow outside forces be what decides my fate.  I am in control of my future and I am the only person who controls how I feel about life.

Instead of dwelling on the bad you caused, I am going to choose to remember you for the good. You brought me closer to people I didn’t know I needed in my life.  Angie and Sarah have officially been dubbed my best friends, which was a title I was afraid to give anyone ever again.  They earned it and I love them for sticking by me when I was the worst version of myself.  I terrified my parents and sister with my depression and I am glad that even when I hated them for it, they wouldn’t leave me to wallow in my darkness.

New adventures came into my life this year.  Visiting family I hadn’t seen in 10 years, a full time job for the first time in years, new friends I never thought I’d make, and a new love.    The last part of this year has brought me closer to the person I want to be than I have ever been.

Goodbye to you 2013.  Dark clouds and all! You are gone and 2014 is here.  I don’t  regret anything that happened because like EVERYONE kept telling me, you got better in time.  2014 will be the beginning of the rest of my life.  I am not making any resolutions, I am starting fresh and just living my life the way I should, with positivity, abundance of love and friendship, and with openness to everything that comes my way.

Thank you, 2013.

Travel and Realizations

ImageMy trip to Florida was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Getting out of town was a relief and seeing family who I haven’t seen in 15 years (and a few new members I’d never met before) was just what my broken heart needed.  Being with my cousins again made me feel both young and old.  Young, because it felt like we never missed a beat.  Old, because they all got old (of course, I didn’t get old, I just feel old haha) and because two of them have babies of their own now!

The last night I was in Florida the whole family got together at my Aunt’s house.  It was loud and hectic considering it consisted of my Aunt Liz, Uncle Derel, Cousins Derek, Jessica, Stefanie, and Erin, also Stefanie’s boyfriend Omar, Jessica’s two year old, Joltin, and Erin’s one year old, Ava.  It was a full house.  Exactly how I remember it being every time we all got together.  If you threw in my Uncle Steve and my Dad than there would have been no chance at silence:-p. That night I felt like crying because I didn’t want to leave!  I can’t explain the feeling I had but it was the first time in more than a few months that I was honestly happy. 

Since coming home I have come to find that I have a new found clarity.  Sure, I get sad still, but I’m not miserable anymore.  My family is a huge part of that and I realize that the friends that have stuck around throughout my craziness are some of the most wonderful people I know.  I am so lucky to have them in my life.   There are new friends and new people in my life that I think will be positive parts of my life. 

I’m doing things that I never expected I would do.  Some little things like going and doing things alone, some bigger things like traveling across the country on a whim.  I posted on Facebook the other day that I thought the old Amber was coming back.  I meant it as a good thing, that old happy Amber was coming back, but in reality, old Amber is gone, and I don’t think she was all that happy anyway.  New Amber, well she’s still trying to find her way but I think I like her. 

Adventures in Amberland

Image

Crazy Amber is crazy.

I am enjoying the fact that I have been so open and honest with people for the last few months.  This blog may be way too honest and forward for some people (sorry Mom and Dad) but I think it helps me understand what’s going on inside my head right now.  I’ve gotten positive and negative feedback but I think it has all be for my benefit in the end.

Also, I am a masochist and thought it would be fun to share my embarrassing adventures in dating. …

I have been single for approximately 3 months.  This is essentially the first time I have been single in my adult life.  I met my ex fiancé when I was 19 years old and spent about 8 years with him.  That is insane.  That is almost 1/3 of my life.  Needless to say, the last 3 months have been completely upside down from where I thought I would be by my 28th birthday, which occurs at the end of this month.

Where did I think I would be?

Well, before I even met Bobby, I assumed I would be a college graduate, married and have a kid or two by 28.  In reality, I am just now starting my college career.  I have changed my major a couple times and most recently have decided to get a degree in Dietetics with a minor in Psychology.  My reasoning for Dietetics is that I know for a fact that going on a fad diet will not work for anyone.  You have to change your lifestyle and your diet is the most important.  I am excited to learn more about the nutrition field and the reasons why we need to eat what we need to eat.  I chose psychology as a minor because it is a major influence in how people eat. I know that as a woman who was, and still is, overweight, eating can be completely controlled to your emotions.  I want to learn why and how I can help people work through those issues.

I was going to be married before my 28th birthday.  (You probably didn’t know that, since I am so good at hiding my emotions.  HAHA.  You know sarcasm when you hear it, right?) I was to be married June 29, 2013.  It didn’t happen since we broke up at the beginning of May.  Needless to say, it was an exciting experience canceling my dream wedding.

Now I am single and dating.  It is one of the strangest things I have ever gone through.  Having more than one man interested in me is something I hadn’t expected.  I assumed that my dorkiness and my weight would always be a turn off to guys.  When I look in the mirror I still see Fat Amber and it’s weird when I realize that I am no longer that same big and sad girl.  I am attractive and kind of beautiful.  J

I’ve gone on more than a couple dates now, and even though it is foreign to me to go to a movie, have dinner, kiss, or sleep with someone other than Bobby, it has been a good experience for me.  I’ve had good dates and bad. And no, I am not sleeping with everyone I meet.  For some reason, people assume that I am looking just for someone to have sex with.  I’m not.  I know I am nowhere near ready for a boyfriend but I am not the kind of person to just sleep with a guy and move on to the next.  If I decide to be with someone physically it’s because I have an interest in someone.

I am going off on a tangent here but I have some words to say to whoever invented “Dating”.  There should be a rulebook so I know what proper dating etiquette involves.  If I want to see a guy again after we went to the movies together, do I wait for him to ask me or do I ask him to hang out again?  I have no patience or tact so I just asked, “When do I get to hang out with you again?”  Thankfully, he responded with a time and not with silence.

Then there is the bad date.  I am sure there will be more than one, but I’ve only had one uncomfortable date so far.  We had coffee and he said about 5 entire sentences during the 60 minutes we spent together.  I don’t know if he was so turned off by me he wanted to get rid of me or if the fact that he had no job, lived with his parents, and was missing his two front teeth made him shy…but it was bad.  I didn’t make an effort to contact him afterward, and he didn’t try to talk to me.  I think it was mutual awkwardness but still, should I have said something?

But wait! There’s more! Then there is the guy, who you actually like, and you tell him so, only to realize you’re acting like a 15 year old with a crush.  Then you have to go hide in your fort and hope he isn’t frightened by your pseudo assertiveness.  Who woulda thunk that you would have these kinds of issues in your life?

And back to discussing where I thought I would be at 28…

Kids?  I don’t even know if I want them anymore.  I used to think I wanted at least one but now, I am realizing that the world is a crappy place and also, I like my freedom.  I don’t know if I want to give that up.  This is all circumstantial of course, if I met the right person, and had my life in order, I may change my mind.

These days I still get sad.  I still miss Bobby.  He was, and still is my best friend.  A girl friend pointed out to me recently that maybe, towards the end of our relationship, we loved each other but we weren’t in love anymore.  He was my best friend and neither of us wanted to give that up.  I am grateful that he chose not to marry me.  If we had gotten married, I don’t think either of us could have been completely happy.  I’m not happy yet, but I think I am firmly headed in that direction.  And I am no longer miserable, so there’s that too.

Is this kind of honesty the best policy?

toesBefore you read this post, I must tell you.  I jump around like crazy and I share way more information than anyone probably wants to know.   You have been warned.  I am kind of raw in this post, and I don’t know yet if it is a good idea but I am doing it anyway.

I think at the very beginning of this breakup, as fucked up as I was (and am), I was in a better place.  I seemed to have the motivation to become the person I want to be.  This blog is proof.  It was much more productive, and I actually wrote here, much more often in mid May.  However, the closer my would-be wedding day got, the worse I felt and the less I felt like living.

I am that crazy women who cried and got drunk in her wedding dress.  It is incredibly embarrassing to admit, but at this point in my life I think full disclosure is the best thing, if only to make sure I remember this and don’t repeat the cycle of crazy.  I have decided that starting in July (aka, tomorrow) I am going to change this.  Tonight, however, if I want to bring my crazy out and dance around in my dress, I’m going to do it.  But it is time to stop sitting here and waiting for something good to happen and make things happen by myself.

By myself.  That’s the most terrifying part of this I guess.

I was convinced that when Bobby left me I would be alone forever and no one would love me.  In my mind, I am still that 400lb girl who didn’t believe she deserved love.  Now that I am single for the first time in my life, and I am no longer morbidly obese, I am realizing I am not as terrible as I thought I was.  The biggest shocker to me is that people are actually showing interest in me.  I am no where near ready for a relationship yet, and while a man may be able to sleep with a woman quickly after a breakup, and even some women, I can’t.  The opportunity is there and while just kissing someone different is nice, it feels so foreign still.  I can’t imagine making love to someone else.

Sometimes, when it comes to being a better human being, I am all talk and no action.  I hate that I have issues with follow through.  I think that is another reason I started this blog.  If I put it out there on the Internet for people to see, maybe I will hold myself more accountable.  I’ve made myself a daily schedule that I am going to follow.  I even made myself a little checklist to make sure I accomplish everything each day.

Someone famous and super smart once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.”  In other words, sitting on my ass and getting wasted every night and still expecting my life to get better is not good for me.  Not to mention the toll it is taking on my liver.

So yeah, this rambling post is basically admitting I am crazy and that I am going to not be so crazy starting tomorrow.  Project Awesome will be back with a vengeance!