Fitness-Internal vs. External

When you lose 65 pounds a lot of people ask you why? What made you change? What was the tipping point?

I have had to think about this a lot. There were a lot of artificial reasons, like I wanted to look better, my dad had heart bypass surgery really young (and that’s where I was headed), etc. etc. I could go on forever about all the little negatives that come with being overweight. Like restrictions on horse back riding, zip lining, and not being able to shop in stores. That’s not what this post is about. There were a lot of things that contributed, it wasn’t any one thing.

Really though, when I dig deep and think about what really made me change, I realize that it was because my body didn’t reflect my character.

I knew deep down I was more disciplined, more ambitious, and more strong than my body reflected. My outside didn’t match my inside.

Most people would describe me as a type-A. Hard charging, goal oriented, analytical, tough, strong, and disciplined. When I was super overweight, I knew my body didn’t align with my character. I knew I could do better and prove to myself that I was better.

Even though I’ve lost a lot of weight, I still struggle with my character matching my body sometimes. I pick eating the brownie over my goal of doing a pull-up and then beat myself up. I go out and eat too much instead of remembering how sluggish I feel after doing so.

Sometimes my internal character isn’t enough. Sometimes my fast brain (Read the book “Thinking fast and slow“) takes over my slow, more long term thinking brain. The cool thing is that this has progressed over time. It started with me not even thinking about thinking about eating the brownie. This evolved to being aware of that I’m eating a brownie. Then, it became I’m eating this brownie, and I know I’m eating it because I’m feeling stressed/angry/upset. Now, it has evolved to I’m eating this brownie and it is not in alignment with my character and goals. Yet I still eat the brownie.

I can tell this is starting to evolve again. I have been a lot better at portion control at events recently. I said “no” to the second donut at work. I have started walking a lot more places than using my car. Most of all, I’ve been getting PO’d that I am killing it at the gym only to sabotage myself in the kitchen. That’s OK. It’s ok to get mad to change yourself. If anger is your motivator then use it!

If you ever hear anyone say or preach “you should just cut calories and increase exercise” like it was this easy switch to flip, then you know the frustration of trying to do just that simply. I can’t. There are a lot of tactics that I employ to make this easier on myself. Because my fast brain seems to win out on my slow brain often. If I can put in tools that beat my fast brain, I can win. I’m all about winning. None are effective all by themselves. Some work for me and won’t work for you.

Here are some tools that help that internal motivation voice win:

  • Portioning food. I love peanut butter filled pretzels and would eat a whole bag. Instead of bringing the whole thing to work, I separate the big bag into 8ish small bags and bring one to work. I know I can eat the whole thing and know about how many calories it is.
  • Drinking diet soda when I’m craving something sweet
  • Chewing gum
  • Sleeping in my workout clothes
  • Meal prep, and to make it even more easy buying pre-made salad mixes
  • Putting a picture of Rhonda Rousey on my phone background
  • Doing a life experiment (Three, three challenge) My experiments generally need to be short term and easily doable.
  • Having an Instagram account to post to and following only insiprational people
  • Working as a fitness instructor
  • Going to fitness classes so I have an instructor motivating me
  • Going to fitness classes when I know cute guys will be there
  • Making friends at fitness classes/groups to hold me accountable
  • Having goals (hit the 30min 5k! Now going for the pull-up)
  • Boy anger
  • Variety

This isn’t exhaustive, but this is all I can think of for now.

Things I would like to try to use:

  • Printing a pic of myself in a bra and underwear and putting it somewhere private so I remember how I don’t like how I look (Controversial tactic, I realize.)
  • Getting into a bet
  • Finding a S.O. to workout with me/hold me accountable
  • Buy an instant pot to add variety to my diet and efficiency
  • Speaking my goals every morning

Again, not exhaustive, and always looking for new ideas.

What are you doing to keep yourself moving?


Faith- Not another #metoo post

If you don’t do Facebook and are not sure what #metoo is, let me catch you up. There’s a social media campaign that was started by a woman after this whole Hollywood director sexual abuse allegation thing that was meant to bring attention about the amount of people (read:women) who have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman, if I’m too much into media, or what, but I thought that this was an already well known thing.

I was really annoyed by this whole thing. I feel like it was a bunch of people making themselves feel better because they spoke up about something. Yes, you can call me insensitive, but really a social media confessional campaign won’t fundamentally fix anything. We need better families. Better values as a country. Better men. I digress.

I have had a few negative experiences with men. (I have also had a few negative experiences with women.)

I was working on an engineering project and I went to the hardware store with my project partner who was a male. The sales attendant paid no attention to me and only paid attention to my partner.

This campaign happened at the beginning of last week. In the middle of last week, I had a first date. A very, very bad first date. Not like the awkward date. Not a ghosting date. A wouldn’t take no for an answer date.

We were sitting on the couch in my living room cuddling. He started putting his hands places that I didn’t want them. I told him to stop. Instead of removing his hands, he stopped rubbing and didn’t remove his hands. I said, “please stop”, and he replied “I did”. Oh, sorry, should’ve clarified. *sarcasm*. I should’ve ended it there. I wish I could’ve said I ended it there and made him leave. I wish I was better than I was. In my world of loneliness and longing, I didn’t.

He repeatedly asked to go upstairs to my room. I repeatedly said no. He started to unbuckle his belt and un button his pants. Eventually, he lifted the blanket we were under and pushed my head under neath.

I said no and promptly removed myself from under there. I wish I told him to go home at that point. I wish I followed brain and not my body and told him to leave. To be strong enough to tell him to leave. Instead I let him stay until it was late enough to use bedtime as an excuse and he left.

And I wish I could tell you I unmatched him on our dating app after that. I wish I could tell you I wasn’t so lonely that I was convinced after that to never talk to him again.

But I wasn’t. I ended up saying something that upset him quickly and he unmatched me.

After this date I felt everything. Mad that he unmatched me. Mad that I let it get there. Mad I didn’t say no earlier. Mad I didn’t see it coming. Sad that I feel so desperate. Sad that I now have to go on another first date. Determined to do it differently next time. Determined to vet earlier.

Guilty for what I did end up doing. Like I let down all the women who I’ve told to stand up for themselves, because I couldn’t do it myself.

It was weird timing. I’m not sure why it happened at this point, right when the #metoo thing was happening. The obvious answer is to teach me a lesson about empathy.

I’ve been very discouraged about dating since.

That’s only two of my #metoo stories. We have a long way to go for our society to no longer have them.

Fitness-Workout Schedule

When I came back from Europe I was dead set on getting myself in a consistent workout schedule. It’s difficult with my schedule sometimes, but this has been the gist of it.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 8.49.37 PM

I plan four days of weightlifting in case I miss one, and there’s nothing wrong with a bonus day if I hit them all!

I am always curious about the details of peoples’ transformations and schedules. No mystery here!

Saturday is left for flexibility. I went for a hike one Saturday and may do so again. This past Saturday I hosted a brunch (and ate way way too much). I may go for runs over the weekend. There’s room for change/flexibility. I wanted a template of some sorts, and no more planning things over working out.

Maybe I’ll move weightlifting to Tuesday and Thursday?

We’ll keep keeping on and see how this goes.

Faith-Will power, grit, and decisions

There have been studies showing that willpower depletes over periods of time. I experienced this on a day to day when my eating habits are harder to control at night and on a longer term stent when I started spending a lot after I paid off my debts.

The debate I find myself in is whether to completely cut things out (i.e. never buy ice cream) or if it’s ok to have ice cream in the house and practice your willpower.

Tonight I spent almost two hours meal prepping. Then I ate dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and was ready to unwind before bed.  Thus begins the debate. Can I have a glass of wine? I already snacked a little before dinner. What about some gelato? I’ll only have a couple scoops.

I resolved to have some gelato and did only have four or five spoonfuls out of the container. I’ve had to develop that portion control and it’s still not easy. The only way I have developed it, though, is by having it in the house.

Scenario A: You are in the grocery store and remember that gelato you’ve been meaning to try. You don’t buy it because it’s expensive and unhealthy, and you go home. You’re home, you’re unwinding from your day, and you could really go for some gelato, but there is none! So you start eating other things. Pretzels, celery with peanut butter, apple…nothing quite like that cold, chocolate gelato. You go to bed with more calories than if you had gelato and end up buying gelato the next day.

Scenario B: You are in the grocery store and remember the gelato you’ve been meaning to try. You buy it, because you know it’ll bring you some temporary satisfaction later, it reminds you of Rome, and it’s something that you can afford because you work hard. You’re home, you’re unwinding from your day, and you go and eat a few spoonfuls of the gelato. You feel satisfied and head to bed.

I’ve been through both scenarios. I’ve found scenario B to be a lot more realistic and self-image improving than scenario A. In an ideal world, there will be a scenario C where I don’t even want gelato, but who knows when that day will be and it’s unrealistic for me to expect that until then. There’s also scenario A2 where I don’t buy the gelato and end up figuring out how to manage the craving/feeling without indulging. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes I figure it out. Ergo, internal debate.

This applies to many areas of my life, namely boys. I have deleted multiple boys’ numbers out of my phone so as to not text them because I couldn’t resist the urge when I’m my most vulnerable. I know they’re not right for me, but the loneliness gets to me sometimes. I know gelato isn’t right for me, but that sugar high gets to me. I did it tonight, deleted a number, and although I know I’ll get over it, it’s still hard.

With that I’ll leave you this quote from my favorite movie:

“I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You’ve think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don’t fall in love that way either. You have not won. You’re alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I’m still a lot closer to love than you are.” Gigi

Finance and Faith-Affordable living

There are two ways to get more positive cash flow. Make more money or reduce expenses. I decided to tackle both.

I live and work in the Boston area. They don’t lie, it is expensive to live here. Groceries, gas, car maintenance, everything. I lived in a four bedroom apartment right in Boston for a year after I graduated for $800/mth not including utilities or parking. After that year, an opportunity opened up in a suburb (about 30 mins away from the city) for a spot in a house with three girls. The rent was $150/mth cheaper and as you would imagine so was mostly everything else.

This was about when I started getting serious about paying off my debt. I started working at the YMCA there and getting diligent about extra expenditures. A year and a half into that living situation the roommates changed and I was very unhappy. I left that lease with six months to go and moved into another place close by.

This place I found off of craigslist. It was a woman with an extra bedroom in her house and who wanted help with her dog for reduced rent. I believe the rent ended up being about the same at this next place, maybe $750, but this time only sharing with one other person and I was supposed to have my own bathroom once it was finished.

The first month I was there she had a boyfriend and they were having very loud sex. Thank God they broke up. There was one time she told me she was annoyed I wouldn’t put her dirty coffee cup into the dishwasher. Almost a year after I moved in, I still didn’t have a bathroom, it turns out the dog was very aggressive and not well behaved (he bit a dog walker before I got there), and she asked me to lie about taxes but wouldn’t give me rent back to leave early.

It was getting ugly pretty fast toward the end, so I had to find something quickly. I turned to Craigslist again. This time, I went out on faith and asked for exactly what I wanted and believed God for it. I posted an ad looking for a room with rent for $400-600 a month. The first time I had a pervert answer. The second time, no one. The third time, which was only a three weeks before I had to leave, I had four people respond. One of which was EXACTLY what I was looking for. It was a spare bedroom in a woman’s house in Framingham for $450 a month, no strings attached. While I was there I paid off the rest of my loans. She was a God send, literally. I had the whole upstairs to myself. She had a dog and a cat and was gone virtually all summer up to NH. I will be forever grateful for her help and kind heart.

She had a huge house, she inherited it from her family, but she was all by herself. She decided to sell it, and here I was again looking for a house. I posted on different forums (craigslits, my Catholic Young Adult groups have housing google sheets) and looked high and low. I was looking for something in Newton, not entirely sure why, mostly because I liked working at the JCC and it’s not too far from work.

While perusing I found an ad for a caretaker in Newton on one of the Catholic Young Adult groups social sites. They were looking for someone to watch a 92 year old woman in her house in Somerville. I contacted the guy. It turns out he had found someone, but there was a spare bedroom if I wanted to stay (see a trend?). The rent? $400 a month. Do you know what is unheard of? Finding a room in Somerville with laundry and a driveway for $400. All just to live with an old lady? Absolutely. (Disclaimer-I was very anti-Somerville. Not sure why).

I found my next living space. I moved in on Sunday and then that following Wednesday the 92 year old dies. Yup, you read that right, dies.

The family comforted me and was great the whole time, letting me know I could stay. As the family is figuring things out, it comes to light that they’ll be keeping the house. I end up agreeing to stay living there with one of her grandson’s and his friend. My first time ever living with men! My rent is $800 a month again, but this time I have parking, have been promoted twice, and don’t have student loan debt. My commute is 20-25 minutes to work. Much more manageable.

Living with men has been great so far. Almost the same as living with women, except sometimes when I go to the bathroom the seat is up. They are more into gaming/tech/sports than any of my previous roommates, but that’s not *necessarily* gender specific. I contemplate other things like, do they get annoyed with my fallen out hair all over the place? Can I walk around with a t-shit and no bra?

This living situation will do for now. Someday I’ll be able to live on my own or with my husband. I am still stuck between that rock and hard place of saving for a downpayment on a house. I believed for the room with cheap rent, but now I need to believe for that downpayment/multi-family house. I’ll keep sowing and asking and believing.

I’ve learned a lot about what I like and what I don’t like in a house and location. I’ve learned a lot about how to negotiate living situations and what to ask when trading my money for services. I’ve learned my lesson to ask a lot more questions instead of rushing into an agreement. It has been a pain to change my address so many times, but I’ve learned a lot. Made mistakes. Now I’m in a good place to make better decisions, and that’s what life’s all about.

Fitness, Finance and Faith-InnerCity Weightlifting


Meet Dan. Father, fitness coach, Patriot’s fan, rap lover, reader, and ex-convict. He works at InnerCity Weightlifting, a non-profit organization which employs ex-convicts to help train clients at a gym.

Here’s a blurb from the InnerCity Weightlifting website:

InnerCity Weightlifting reduces youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal fitness. We use the gym to replace segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, disrupting the system that leads to urban street violence.

In Boston, 1% of youth are responsible for 50% of gun violence and homicides. Within that 1% there are approximately 400 young people who have been identified as high impact players, young people most likely to shoot or get shot.

These are the young people we work with. Most of our students come from Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. Most have been shot. All, except for a couple, have done significant jail time and come from family incomes of less than $10K per year. Our students are at the highest-risk; we screen out those who are not. By reaching a relatively small number of people, we can have incredible impact in reducing violence and homicides.

I found them out of sheer happenstance. I was reading a Whole Foods newsletter and one of the managers trains at the gym in Dorchester so there was a whole article on it. To give myself more of an incentive to get into weightlifting I gave it a try. It was AWESOME. They have such a cool atmosphere, the trainers are outstanding and are supported by certified coaches. The one I go to is in Kendall Square. Individual sessions cost $25 (You really can’t beat that for individualized attention) and you can buy packages that include a coaching tune up. They also do corporate visits.

They use very bare bones workouts (no fancy machines) which I like. I stopped going for a while to pay off my student debt and because I lived far away. Now I’m close by again and going once a week. That’s my other trainer, Angel, who I will be with while Dan stays around Dorchester.


I love making a lot of money so I can support causes like this. It’s great that I can manage my money and spend it on things that bring real value to myself and the community. I love being proactive about changing our society instead of being like a majority of people and complaining about it.

I started right when they opened their Kendall Square location and I am excited to see them expand and grow again (more centers are in the works).

Please consider donating/checking them out!

Fitness-Three Three Challenge

I hate loathe weightlifting with every fiber of my being. I don’t know what it is, but there’s a culmination of reasons including not knowing exactly what to do, not seeing progress fast enough, not being stimulated enough, etc. etc.

After I came back from Europe (post about my trip coming eventually), I was feeling really gross. In fact, before I left for Europe I was also feeling really gross (despite being incredibly active boxing, running, spinning, etc.)

My trip was great, but I definitely ate a lot. By the end I was ready to come back to my routine, and I didn’t enjoy the last few days of the trip because I wasn’t feeling healthy from not working out. Sure we walked, but it wasn’t the same. And yet again, I was thinking to myself how beautiful and fit some of the girls were on the trip and wishing I was more like them (that darn nasty comparison voice I can’t quiet).

Have you ever heard people say that until you get so fed up with the way things are you won’t change? Well, that’s where I got to.
Have you also heard that if you stick to something long enough you’ll end up not wanting to stop?

Enter- Three three challenge. I commit to weightlifting three days a week for three months. If after that amount of time I **still** don’t want to stick with lifting and **still** hate it, I don’t have to do it.

Tomorrow starts week 4. I started in the middle of September, so while it’s for “three months”, I count it as weeks into it, culminating in the final results right before Christmas.

Weeks go from Monday to Sunday (one week day 3 fell on a Sunday, so that’s why that happened).

Here are some beginning pics.




Assisted pull-up


Kettle Bell Deadlift

I have been known to do experiments in the past that have been pretty fun (Not spending money on food for a month (post to come), minimalist game). This one, way more of a struggle.

I am eager to see the results. I can already feel a difference, but am annoyed with my weight increase progression. Who knew adding five pounds lifting something would be so hard.

I had a conversation with someone about how my results would be so much better if I ate better. I have heard that so many times, but to get my psychology to change it has to come from within. (This is why I have stopped lecturing people to change. More data doesn’t change psychology). Well, that tide is finally turning. I get so frustrated when day after day I’m KILLING IT at the gym (sometimes boxing for an hour in the morning then weightlifting, sometimes running then lifting) and I know I am sabotaging myself when I eat those extra carbs or sugary snacks.

It hasn’t completely worked yet, but I can feel myself getting more and more mad for not eating well. Let’s see what this three months does for me. Stay tuned!

What experiment could you try in the next week? Month? Three months? Something small to get you moving in a different, better direction than the same old?