Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy to Have Lost

Today is my first weigh in, and this morning I weighed in at 170.0. So that's a small, but on-target, loss for the week.

The past few days have been busy working both jobs. Luckily tonight is my last night at Nordstrom for a little while. I have mixed feelings about this. Although it will be nice to have a break from working multiple jobs, whether it be freelancing or retail, I find myself wondering how I'll handle all the free time. Will I distract myself by shopping and spending too much money? Will I go to the gym more? Will I EAT MORE? Will I get reacquainted with my kitchen and cooking again? I guess I'll figure it out as I go, especially during the upcoming weekend.

But today, I'm sick. Last night I probably scared poor sweet Travis because all of a sudden my chest was on fire and I had a really hard time breathing. I felt like passing out, but it seemed like if I let myself pass out I would stop breathing. It felt crazy! I thought my respiratory system was shutting down and I was starting to black out. This morning, judging by the way I feel right now, I think a chest cold or perhaps one of those illnesses going around has finally caught up with me. So who knows if I'll get back to the gym this week. Seems like something always comes up doesn't it?

Well I feel like shit so I'm out!
Continue reading...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back on the Wagon

Last night I went back to the gym for the first time since before the holidays. And previous to that I hadn't been to the gym in close to a year. Not that emotional trauma and stress should ever be a good excuse to devalue your health, but 2012 was a transition year for me in many ways. I quit freelancing and worked a part-time job instead that left little time for pretty much anything, I traveled to seven meetings, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend in dramatic fashion, I ended up having a $6,500 repair bill for some water damage caused by a malfunctioning water heater (which in turn made me take even more hours at the part-time job), and I started dating a chef.

But let's talk about last night at the gym. My trainer, Stephanie, is great. She's stern but not a bitch about it, and she's very knowledgeable about diet and exercise. We worked on arms (holy cow it was tough!), legs, and abs. Honestly, even though there were points when I wanted to die, it felt amazing to workout again. I realized last night that I missed it so much and how good I felt after a workout well done. Perhaps if I had kept up my exercise during 2012, it wouldn't have felt like such an overwhelming year.

I burned 720 calories in that short hour and 15 minutes because I'm so out of shape right now. And this morning my elbow hurts something fierce for some reason. But it's a good pain. I can feel my muscles for the first time in a long time, and it feels good to be aware of my body again.

I plan on hitting the gym more regularly in the coming days and weeks. I want to look good (and be healthier) for my 35th birthday next month. I'm not running any half-marathons and it won't be anything like last year's birthday, but I will be in Florida with my parents, the puggies, and my sweetheart, Travis.

If anyone is reading this blog, my wish is to impart hope that although life can sidetrack you, there's always a way back no matter how far away you've gotten, and that goes for happiness as well as fitness. For many weeks after the whole Brian fiasco, I felt like I had wasted 7 of my best years. From age 27 until 34, my life was tied up in someone else, and at the time I was happy to make the sacrifice because I thought that's what you had to do for true love. When I discovered that he had been married for close to the entirety of our relationship (oh yeah, the whole first year of our relationship he was planning his wedding to Amanda on the side), I went crazy thinking of the life I could have had if I hadn't met Brian. In 7 years, I could have met someone else, someone true and kind. I could have married that person and had a pretty little family of my own. I thought about whether my children would be in kindergarten or first grade by now and all of the things I missed out on in that regard. And I felt utterly defeated. He stole 7 years from me at the prime of my life that I'll never get back.

Eventually, I stopped punishing my own stupidity with these thoughts, and I opened my heart again. Travis is nothing like Brian in every sense. In the 6 months we've been together, I've met his parents and friends; he invited me to spend Christmas Eve at his aunt's house with his family; and he invited me to spend NewYear's Eve with him and his friends at a little cozy get together. That's so much more than Brian ever offered to share with me. And I appreciate Travis for showing me that there is hope. There's hope in life and in love. And whether Travis and I make it all the way or not, I will always cherish the gift of joy and hope he gave me at such a dark time in my life. He's truly a beautiful person.

Continue reading...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 Year in Review: Part II

New Orleans was the last time I ever saw Brian.

On our last day there together, I kissed him goodbye before he got into his cab to head to the airport. I watched the taxi pull away from the hotel, then I walked down Poydras in half drizzle half sunshine toward the convention center to take down my exhibit. I didn't feel sad, nor did I have the slightest premonition that it was as good as over. I didn't know yet that soon, on a sunny Friday afternoon in early May, I would discover a truth so well hidden yet so easily stumbled upon. I didn't know that this was our last kiss, our last wave goodbye.

When I returned home from New Orleans, I went back to business as usual at my day job and at Nordstrom. I was still basking in the after glow of my culinary joyride through the Crescent City. I was telling everyone who would listen about my mornings walking down to Cafe du Monde for coffee and to split a plate of beignets with my coworker, always managing to get a puff of powdered sugar on my jacket or laptop bag, and about tasting grilled alligator sausage with caramelized onions and sherry-creole mustard cream reduction at The Court of the Two Sisters restaurant in the French Quarter.

At Nordstrom, there was a new sous chef who started shortly before I left on my trip. I had seen him rushing around, red-faced and smelling like onions, back and forth to the backroom we shared with the Cafe. One night around closing time, soon after I got home from NOLA, I was standing by the cash wrap waiting for the all-clear to close up from the Manger in Charge. I had not yet introduced myself and I was bored and still daydreaming about pralines and beignets. So I stopped him and asked him his name. After our brief introductions, I told Travis that I was a part-timer and that I had just gotten back from a business trip to New Orleans. And---what I now think of as pure serendipity---his eyes widened and he told me that he had lived in New Orleans and worked there as a chef for many years! When the all-clear finally came, I knew I had a new "closing buddy" in Travis, and from then on we always chatted about this or that and joked around along with our other coworkers. It seems like I digress here, but you'll find that this is an important event in the course of my 2012.

One night in early May, I was closing with my department manager and we were chatting. She asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I said yes! and that we would be together 7 years this June. Of course, she wanted to know all about this boyfriend who's been just a boyfriend for nearly 7 years. I told her of our situation, that he had to move back to Wisconsin and hadn't yet been able to find a job here so that he could come back and we could finally get married. Well, my manager was skeptical that it would take 7 years to get back together or to find a job, even in a bad economy, for a graduate-school-educated man. But, stupid as I was, I assured her that we were trying and that he was sending his resume all over town with no luck. She then asked me about Wisconsin and his family. Here, I will have to confess my most grievous mistake. I had never formally met his family. In 7 years there was always an excuse. I had briefly met his father at a Brewers game at Miller Park only because he worked there at the gates. We didn't talk and I wasn't introduced. We just walked in through his gate. I should have known something wasn't kosher when his father merely gave his son a smirk and didn't ask who I was. I met his sister in Florida briefly, but it was a short introduction, and I wasn't "allowed" to call her for lunch or coffee whenever I happened to be in Orlando (she lives in Kissimmee). And I had never met his mother. Not once. In 7 years. In 7 years, my future mother-in-law never once wanted to meet me. Yeah, I got enough red flags to open up a Red Flag Shop. My parents had been giving me grief for years about me not knowing his family. I always used to say that it's because they lived in Wisconsin. But the truth is I'd been to Wisconsin so many times through the years and had so many opportunities to meet them and get to know them. Brian always had an excuse, though, and I talked myself into believing each and every one.

My manager, who I now owe my new life to, thought that not knowing his family was a terrible mistake and asked if I had ever Googled him. I honestly replied that I was afraid to Google him for fear of finding something unsavory. Don't you just want to hit me with a baseball bat at this point? Then she said something that changed the course of my life. She said, "Don't you want to know now if there's anything bad about him rather than spend more years not knowing?"

I have to say that I always felt something "off" about or relationship, about the things Brian would tell me, about the poor excuses that I swallowed whole. Now that I look back on all those years together, all the signs that something was very, very wrong were clear as a billboard. But I was in love. I met Brian when I was 27. It was a time when all my friends were getting engaged and married. I suppose I wanted in on the action, so I chose blindly to love Brian and stay with him despite our situation in the hopes that he was The One. Now, I know that you shouldn’t have to hope that someone is The One or try and make them The One because if you have to do that, then they are most definitely not The One.

On Friday afternoon after work, May 11, with my manager’s words resonating in my stupid brain and for other personal reasons I won’t go into here, I decided I needed to know the whole truth whatever that truth may be. My gut was already sure that I would find something in my search because all my little warning bells and flags and whistles and what have you were finally starting to mean something to me. I Googled his name and a 2-year-old obituary notice popped up in my search. It was for his grandmother, Regina. I remember his Grandma Reggie dying a couple of years back. I wasn’t at the funeral of course; that was a family affair. I clicked on the link to the obituary and saw the list of relatives survived by her. Among those listed, I recognized his parents and sister by their names. There was his father, Dennis (her son), and his wife, Marie. There was his sister, Michelle, and her husband, Kyle. Then, there was Brian and his wife, Amanda.

I knew who Amanda was. Years ago, when Brian was still living in the area and we’d only been together a few months, an ex-girlfriend of his called and left a message on my phone saying that Brian was still with his girlfriend, Amanda, back in Milwaukee. She warned me that Brian was not the person I imagined he was and that I would be wise to believe her. I didn’t of course. When I confronted Brian, he said that the ex-girlfriend was extremely jealous and a liar who would stop at nothing to ruin him for other women. He even called her and screamed at her on the phone for leaving me such a spiteful message. Little did I know that the poor woman was only trying to save me.

That weekend I had to work at Nordstrom, which was good because I took solace in my friends there. I told them what I found and asked them what I should do next. Of course the unanimous answer was that I should kick his ass or pay someone to kick his ass. As much as I would have loved to do that, I decided that I would just confront him on Monday. Via e-mail. I never wanted to talk to him again, of that I was sure.

On Monday, May 14, I sent him all the proof I found and told him that our relationship was dead. I actually sent it in a PDF. I sent a copy of the obituary with their names highlighted; I sent the information I bought about Amanda, which is what I used to match addresses and identities and such; and I sent copies of return addresses from packages he sent me that didn’t match his parents’ address, where he supposedly lived. Yes, the fool had used the address where he lived with his wife to send me packages. When I questioned him about this “other” address previously, he said that his parents didn’t like him using their address for things and that the New Berlin address was his friend Anthony’s.

So that’s my Lifetime-movie experience. For months after this, Brian would pretend to be suicidal; he sent ALL the things I bought him as presents back, along with tear-stained letters of regret and apology; and he sent all our pictures back. At first, I still cared for him and didn’t want him to suffer. I told him that I forgave him (I truly did; I was raised to love my enemies and do good to those who hurt me) and that I would hold his hand through his heartbreak but I would never ever go back. Eventually, he started blaming me for the death of our relationship, saying I was unforgiving, cold, cruel, a liar (what??!!), and that I already had someone else, etc. He because a true narcissist.

I don’t have any more contact with Brian. I don’t feel that it’s appropriate. And I can’t go on hearing how awful I am for not taking him back.

But I’m happy now and all this is behind me.


Continue reading...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Revisiting Deedah's Cupcakes and Fitness

It's been nice long while since I've blogged. In that interim I've been happy, sad, thinner, and fatter. But I still have the same goals as far as food and health are concerned. I want my cake and eat it too!

So before I publish Part II of my recent adventures, I'm republishing my very first entry (with a few tweaks as you'll see ) so we can get a little reacquainted.
Cupcakes and fitness. What in the world do those two things have in common? I love both and can't imagine giving up one for the sake of the other!
I've been on a quest to achieve the best level of fitness for my body for years. I want to stay healthy and live a long and active life. But like many people out there, I'm stuck with that last 10-15 (yeah, it's more like 15-20 these days) pounds I can't seem to get rid of. I've tried almost every popular diet/eating style/exercise regimen there is, from the ultrarestrictive low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach to Weight Watchers to the Eat Clean Diet. I couldn't stick to any of them. Sound familiar?
I've realized that food is a wonderful part of life (yes!). The sweet comfort of icing coating your tongue, the buttercream infusing your tastebuds; the heartiness of a fresh slice of artisan bread, crusty and rustic; filet mignon that melts in your mouth, cooked to perfection, with a glass of red wine, of course; the juice of a perfect peach dribbling down your chin and your hands while you revel in the purest taste of summer. I can't live like food is just a means to fuel my body because I truly find so much joy in it. I find joy in sharing meals with friends and loved ones, I find joy in cooking and baking and being creative with food, and I find joy in discovering new restaurants, whether it's a mom-and-pop dive or a Zagat-rated dining experience. But I know that I've got to be realistic and eat healthy (most of the time) to achieve my fitness goals and avoid the consequences of obesity, like diabetes and heart disease, which, unfortunately, plague both my parents and extended family on both sides (and now a few years later it's even more important nip those diseases in the bud). So I've got a tough road ahead in my journey to balance my love of food AND my love of fitness and exercise, as well as to drop those stubborn last pounds.
I say I love fitness and exercise (I'm gonna go ahead and confess that I haven't truly had a workout schedule in many, many months). AND I DO! What do I love just as much as food? Working out, if you can believe it (Oh to be young[er]). I've always exercised (and enjoyed it), whether I was 175 pounds or 125 pounds. I enjoy feeling my body working hard, my muscles contracting and extending, throbbing after each rep. The high at the end of a summer run, as the sun beats down on my arms and face, drenching me in sweat and sunscreen, is euphoric (Was it really that good? Oh how I want to feel that good again!). In the past couple of years, I've taken up running. I run for fun a couple of times a week either at the gym or around my neighborhoodThe furthest I ever run is 6 miles, but most of the time I like to go for a nice 4-miler. This past June I ran in my first 5 K race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington, DC. The feeling I got crossing the finish line is something I can't wait to recapture, and soon! (I wish I was still this person in a lot of ways).
Eating Plan
I don't want to divorce food to be healthy. I want to forge a working relationship in which I CAN loose body fat, gain endurance and stamina, and get more fit and still have a cupcake every now and then. I still want to enjoy a full, real meal out in the real world. I don't want to order the side salad while everyone else has calamari! And I think moderation and portion size are key. I recently purchased a book by Jackie Warner (of Workout fame) entitled This Is Why You're Fat. In it, Ms. Warner talks about "eating clean" most of the time but allowing yourself two cheat meals a week of no more than 1,500 calories each. I don't plan on following her methods to the letter but rather follow the principles of such a method, using also what I've learned from the myriad of diets I've tried through the years (Where in the world did I put that book? I'm actually doing Weigh Watchers online and I have a personal trainer who I'm starting with tomorrow).
This leads me to some of the goals I mentioned in my Welcome post on July 1. Although this blog is going to deal a lot with food and exercise, it will also include other aspects of living a full and fruitful life. I turn 33 (35 next month) next year! It's time to start living!
This morning I weighed in at 173.
Goal: 155-150 (I'm not trying to be a fashion model or skinny)

I have a personal training appointment tomorrow night. I started with her late last year, but with the holidays and then both of us getting sick, I haven't worked out since the middle of December. But hopefully all the sick days are over and I can get back to enjoying sweating like I apparently used to.


Continue reading...

2012 A Year in Review

Is anyone out there? Hello?

It's been a while, as you can see. Since April 2011, the date of my last post, I have to admit that my life has been mostly cupcakes and very little fitness, which has inevitably led me to a nearly 20 lb weight gain. But wait! Before you shake your heads in disgust and disappointment, I have a laundry list of excuses for falling off the wagon, which I will post in two parts.

Part I

Quite honestly, the rest of 2011 is a blur in my mind. I've always had trouble remembering a whole lot, and 2012 upstaged 2011 as far as crazy, Lifetime-movie-type BS goes. So I just remember 2011 as being an everyday, run-of-the-mill year. I know that in June 2011, I traveled to Las Vegas for a business trip, during which I was accosted in a dark alley by a drunk firmly gripping his member. Thank goodness for the lone car that happened to drive through. How I ended up in the aforementioned dark alley is a lame story exemplifying my poor judgement and lack of common sense. Oh and some man decided it was worth it to pull it out and pee right next to where I was standing one evening. So, yeah, in Las Vegas I saw two strange penises I never asked to see. Later in the summer of 2011, I'm sure I went to Orlando a couple of times as I usually do. Then I probably went to Wisconsin for the last time that year.

Late in the fall of 2011, I decided to go back to working part-time at Nordstrom as seasonal help and just kept working through until very recently. Looking back, it's clear that starting up at Nordstrom again was a quintessential turning point in my life. It initiated a "paradigm shift" that pretty much transformed everything I knew for the last 7 years 180 degrees, quite literally overnight.

2012 started as benignly as any other year, other than the looming threat of an apocalypse come December 21st thanks to a misinterpreted Mayan calendar. Actually, my birthday celebration in February in Florida was probably one of the best birthdays I had ever had. As delusional as I was---that being a hindsight observation of course---it was wonderful to spend my 34th birthday with my parents, my brother, my cousin, and Brian. All the people I loved most were all with me. Who could ask for a better gift! It was a blast and I was happy. While there, Brian even booked his flight to New Orleans in April to prove to me that he was serious about going with me on my business trip. Now that was going to be fun, fun, fun! So, like I said, it was a great time, and I had Brian and New Orleans to look forward to come April.

Meanwhile, while I was working at Nordstrom that winter, I developed a bond with my lovely coworkers and really enjoyed going in to work. Interacting with customers and learning so many things from them and the people around me was enriching and a nice change of pace from my quiet daytime desk job. Brian wasn't as thrilled about my new outlet, and I was accused of wasting precious "visiting time" working a part-time job that took up a lot of free time that I could have spent booking and paying for flights for him to come see me. I felt guilty, but there was no way I was going to negotiate with anyone who can't be happy for me being happy. So to spite him, I kept on a-workin'.

When April finally came along, I couldn't wait to go to New Orleans. It was a new place for me, and I would have Brian to experience it with. I had three goals when I went to New Orleans: 1) I wanted to eat in at least one famous restaurant (believe me New Orleans is a veritable food heaven); 2) I wanted to have at least one drink in at least one bar on Bourbon Street; and 3) I wanted to go to Cafe Du Monde. Suffice it to say, I was up for some digestive debauchery.

Tune in next time for the conclusion of 2012 A Year in Review!

Continue reading...

Deedah's Cupcakes & Fitness 2.0! Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template In collaboration with fifa
Cake Illustration Copyrighted to Clarice