Sunday, October 31, 2010

Registration and running

So, tomorrow is the beginning of registration for Gateway, and I plan on being there bright and early to get into this online psych class. I am excited to get all the info. I would love to get the text and start reading before hand, since the whole class takes place in 2.5 weeks. Whew. It's still a little nerve wracking to be starting this whole thing, but I'm diving right in. I can't let fear of the unknown hold me back from what I really want to do.
I think what makes me the most nervous about this change is that I still have some much to do myself. Should I really be telling people how to eat, move, feel better about themselves, change their lives, when I, myself need to continually re-learn the same things? Is it fair to teach and give advice on things I still need to learn and get advice on? I have a lot to learn, and that's why I am going back to school. I have to just take it one day at a time.
On a personal note. My beloved grandmother has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, with mets to the brain and possibly liver. She is undergoing radiation for the tumors in her head, but is most likely not a candidate for chemotherapy for her lung. Therefor, it will go untreated. We don't know how much time she has. Sometimes when I am on the treadmill and I am going into a sprint, or an incline interval, I think about her and her frailty and I run for her. I run for the running she will be unable to do ever again. I run to make her proud of me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Gateway has finally released it's schedule for Winter intersession and Spring. So, here we go. In the Winter intersession, which is only 2.5 weeks long, I am taking an online-only Psych I class. A little nerve wracking, since it's a lot of work in a short period, but I think I can do it. It's great that it's online only, so I don't have to be away from the kids every evening when I'm just starting out. I will, however, have to make myself a very strict schedule in order to get everything done. Probably working upstairs or downstairs. EVERYONE is going to have to understand and respect the schedule, as though I was out in class itself.
Then, in the spring, I will be taking Human Biology and Nutrition I. I will be in class M, Tues, and Wed evening, but M and W only till 6:40, so I could be home for bedtime with the boys, which is really great. It'll be a lot of work. I'll probably end up doing homework during my lunches at work, etc, but it will be worth it. I have a long way to go, but I know I can do it. I'm really excited to just get STARTED already!!

ETA: I received my official acceptance into the programs (both Dietetic Tech and Exercise Science and Wellness) today - registering for both Winter and Spring NOV. 1! HOORAY! I hope I don't go insane!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New class

I now belong to In Shape Fitness. I really enjoy this gym, and I was finally able to take one of the classes I have been DYING to do, called Group Groove. It's dance based, similar to Zumba, except they use an interval approach, which I like, and they talk you through steps, which I also like. I stood in the back (per usual) and I felt like a lumbering fool. I have a hard time "mirroring". I always want to do the move opposite of the instructor - therefor, the entire class is going right, I end up left. Ugh. However, despite my obvious directional difficulties, I kept moving, sweat-ed my butt off and ended up having fun. And frankly, if it was fun just trying desperately to keep up, it's going to be even more fun once I get the hang of things.

One thing I couldn't help thinking was: wow, I have a LONG way to go. Sure, I can feel like an eye-of-the-tiger champ on the treadmill, but damn, the instructors of this class were FIERCE. Energetic can't even begin to describe the level at which they need to work, not only doing the moves hardcore, but also calling out all the moves and cheering everyone on.... and I want to do THIS eventually? Yikes. It was the first time I felt like this goal was out of reach. I felt "big" in class, and I haven't been feeling that way in a while now. However, I am proud I stepped out of the comfort zone and went. I will certainly be back. Hopefully for every class.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Biggest Loser

** Please note, because of the field I am going into, I will occasionally blog about obesity, weight loss, and other health related issues that may not be directly related to the career change, but are thoughts I feel are important to write about**

I have always been a fan of NBC's The Biggest Loser. Back in my extremely obese days, I even filmed a video to try and win myself a spot in a season, but chickened out, and never sent it.
I'm at odds with the show now. I'm actually watching it as we speak, and frankly, when I am done blogging, I plan on hitting the sack. Seasons prior to this, this would be unheard of. I think that, although the massive weight loss is inspiring, it is so completely unrealistic to the overweight and obese community. I think it's important for every body, young, old, obese or fit, to believe in themselves, and challenge themselves. But because BL is so intense, and of course, the intensity is for TV ratings, I think people feel that if that can't do THAT, then it's not enough.
I have really enjoyed challenging myself at the gym lately. Challenging myself involves a lot of self-talk. "Just run 30 more seconds, ok, now 30 more... it's just a minute, you can do it" So on and so forth. I have talked myself through 45-60 minute interval workouts that, even a few months ago, I don't think I would have thought I could do. The fact is, I could have. I could have done it at any time. My body is strong. It carries me around all day long - and I need to love it and thank it by sweating my ass off in that next Zumba class, interval workout, or strength training circuit.
It's amazing to me how my mindset has changed. How I am enjoying the feeling of becoming fit and strong. How I take the responsibility of logging my food seriously. 3 years ago, I was crying everyday, holding an infant that wouldn't sleep and hated being in the car for more than 5 minutes, and ordering cheese-y bread and cinna-sticks from Dominoes everyday. I love the person I am becoming every day, more and more. And loving myself, even though I am still considered "obese" is something I certainly never thought would happen. Hell, I never thought I would love myself even at a normal weight! Seeing what kind of REAL change can occur, over time, and with effort... this is the way I want to make other people feel. I want them to love themselves. At 400 lbs, or at 140 lbs. When you love and accept your body as it is, it makes it easier to treat it well, by eating the way that makes you feel healthy, and moving so your body feels energized and strong.
Just my thoughts for today. Goodnight Biggest Loser. I need some rest for MY workout tomorrow.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nutrition talk

We live in a world of ignorance. Ok, this could have a lot of meanings, but I mean specifically about food and nutrition. Our society thrives on restaurants, fast food joints, and coffee shops. How many of us take the time to check out the nutritional information on the foods we are consuming at these places? Very few. I almost NEVER did. When I finally started checking it out, I was so amazed at the huge number of calories in these foods alone, that I would lose my craving for them almost instantly. And if I didn't? Well, I tried to figure out how to have some to make it work into my calories for the day, usually by splitting it up or substituting out some of the things that are adding to the calories.
I was so proud of my husband this morning. He loves this time of year and loves all things "pumpkin". This morning, he was really craving a pumpkin muffin - but instead of just running out to get it, he checked out the nutritional stats for one at Dunkin Donuts and was horrified to see this: 600 cals, 26 grms fat (6 saturated) 520 mg sodium, 83 grs carbs, 44 of which are sugar. The hubs states that once he saw this - he decided against it, and was really shocked at the values.
Another example was yesterday, after completing the Walk Out of The Darkness for Brian (a 3 mile jaunt), we were all emotionally and physically tired, and hungry! The family decided to stop for lunch at a burger place (Five Guys Burgers and Fries) As soon as we decided to go there, I looked up the stats on my phone. About 450 cals for a little cheeseburger, 300 for 1/2 a serving of their fries. Yes, on the high side, BUT, I made the decision to make it work for my day. The great thing about Five Guys is that everything is real - 100% real beef with no fillers or preservatives, the fries are real potatoes, sliced right there in the joint, and they are totally trans fat free. All of these things weighed out for me.
Living everyday in a nutritionally sound way is NOT easy. There are decisions to be made constantly, variables weighed and measured. Sometimes we make good decisions for our bodies, and sometimes we don't. The most important lesson I have learned in my journey so far is that every moment is a new moment to make a good decision. I could have let the rest of my eating day yesterday go to pot after a burger and fries - but instead I modified and still kept in my calories for the day.
EVERY moment in a NEW moment to make GREAT decision for your health.

Friday, October 15, 2010


This may not seem career related, but while I was thinking about things at the gym today, I realized that it could be. All of our life experiences effect our careers, especially when our careers focus on something passionate to us.
My cousin, Brian, committed suicide almost 6 months ago. April 25. Some of my family and I are participating in a suicide prevention walk tomorrow. It's been on my mind a lot, and making me nervous. It will surely be emotional and difficult.
There are a myriad of reasons I think this post needs to be here, on this blog. Being overweight all my life led me to a lot of pain and suffering. Some I expressed, some I didn't. Sometimes I felt SO alone in my struggle. Not only was I fat, but I was totally out of control with my eating. Binging, hiding food. The guilt, the shame... it was horrific. I did finally realize I wasn't alone, and I started the steps to help myself stop binging, and eventually, through the use of my weight loss surgery tool, I am where I am today, and moving forward in my own health, wellness and weight loss journey. But the experience of the pain I felt for so long is part of what motivates me to move into this new career. There are people out there who think they are alone. Who can't imagine ever feeling OK about eating, food, weight... there are adolescents out there who are bottling things up inside - stuffing feelings down with food. These feelings can obviously lead to depression. Depression killed my cousin. My handsome, intelligent, sweet, hard working, giving cousin. If I can help one person feel just a little better about themselves - just a little better about life, I will have done my job to the best of my ability. When I say I want to work on people as a WHOLE - physically, mentally and emotionally - THIS is why.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stressful, but enlightening

All the research involved with getting a brand-spanking-new career going can be stressful. I have made a few decisions though, after badgering my husband endlessly, and having a great talk with my brother this weekend. I really had to decide what it is I REALLY want to do. Ok, going into nutrition - I knew that. But what? It comes down to this. I want to help people lose weight, feel good, be happy. The way I want to do things will only really happen if I run the business myself. Which of course, I was shying away from. Mostly because of the fear of doing my own books, taxes, etc. But lets be honest. Fear is something that is prevalent in this whole situation. I mean, I'm completely changing my entire career life at age 32, needing to go back to school to do it, and moving away from the one area (music) I have concentrated on since I was around 10 years old. At this point, fear is old-hat.
So, back to the ultimate dream: (cue Dream-Sequence music) Run my own weight loss/nutrition/wellness counseling center, complete with a space to run exercise classes for everyone from the very obese to the very fit. Packages could include the use of the classes (and hopefully, some machinery?), access to me as often as needed via phone, e-mail etc. Maybe running specialized seminars on emotional eating, etc. Perhaps even expanding to include Reiki, massage therapy, or other holistic treatments. This set up, at it's most successful, will probably involve a small staff (maybe another 1-2 people) to do some classes and other treatments. But right now, I would want to do all the counselling for the clients. Developing meal plans using all real foods. No pills or promises of unrealistic weight loss and unrealistic timelines. Treat the person like a PERSON. And not just handing them a meal plan and sending them on their way, but dealing with the physical, mental and emotional issues of food, excess weight, and weight loss.
End Dream-Sequence music - Beautiful, isn't it?
Attainable? Damn, I hope so.
It's going to take quite a while to get here, if I ever get to the "dream" place at all. But, all I can do is get started. ASAP. I plotted out (loosely, of course) the amount of time it will take for me to get my AS at Gateway is Dietetic Technology and it looks like I would be done with that portion approx. Summer 2013. Seems like forever, but actually not bad. To add the AS in Exercise and Wellness would be an additional 9 classes. At that point, I might as well go for it, and that would take about another year. This is assuming I can handle 2 classes per semester, 1 class in the winter intersession, and doing classes during 2 Summer intersessions (Gateway offers 3). It's a lot of work. A LOT. At this point, all I can do it take the first step and get going. Biology, here I come.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Direction becoming clearer

I do believe that my direction and vision for my future is becoming clearer. I had an amazing conversation with Jenn Krebs, a natriopathic physician in New Haven and I really feel as though she helped me. She really engaged me in conversation, asking probing questions and giving me BOTH sides of the proverbial coin. Working with clients one-on-one is magical, it's amazing, it's phenomenal. It can also be frustrating, inconsistent and cause burn out. But, even with this non-sugar coated version of things (AKA: REALITY) I am still moving in this direction.
It would be amazing to work as a nutrition and weight loss counselor. Dealing with the mental, emotional and physical issues associated with obesity, excess weight, food and eating. I would also love to have a "safe" space for running some exercise classes for clients to partake in. Perhaps one for beginners, or, one for people with physical limitations, as well as something hardcore like step or Zumba.
My fear is running my own, legitimate business. How does one even begin? It certainly won't be easy, and it will probably take a long time to get a good following. I guess kinda like developing my voice studio.... the difference is my voice studio isn't "legit" (as far as the government is concerned. Shhh... don't judge me)
I am working with a woman now. Jessica F is a friend of a friend and she is trying to lose weight and get her borderline blood pressure down so she and her hubby can conceive a baby with her being the healthiest she can be. It's so exciting to work with someone on this. She knows where I am at - just starting school, only working with what I have experienced and researched, and she's cool with that. We are both getting what we need out of this. I will update her progress occasionally here as well.
*Sigh* Still lots to think about. Starting additional part time work in the next few weeks and full time in December. Classes in Dec... lots going on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I am so blessed to be getting so much wonderful support from my family and friends. I was over my moms today and a bunch of my family was there. We got on the subject of my big change and they were all so helpful and supportive. Their encouragement helps me be not quite so nervous to start things off.
So, it looks like, in order to get my AS - associates in science in dietetic technology, it will take me a little under 4 years. This seems like an ETERNITY. Maybe it won't take quite so long, but that's taking 2 classes a semester, plus 2 during the summer and 1 during winter interim. That's constant school in the evenings for 4 years. I am hoping I can do at least SOME of it online. *sigh*
A friend sent me a message today asking me some advise on protein powder. She told me the plan she was working on, and I gave her some advise. It felt SO good to help her. She messaged me back and told me she got more info in my e-mail than she had gotten in a lot of research online. This is what I want to DO! She was so happy and felt so good about her healthy plan.... I feel like I was meant for this. It's still a little scary - but it's super exciting too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

exercise = career research!

The hubs and I joined a gym today. In Shape Fitness just down the street from us. They have classes, cardio and state of the art resistance equipment. I am meeting with a trainer on Monday to develop a resistance routine, which I don't know a ton about. I really feel like being part of a gym, and being in that atmosphere is going to be important to my career goals. For several reasons.
1. Who is going to take nutritional advise from someone who is overweight? The gym is key to getting down to my weight loss goals.
2. It's going to be great to try things out as I learn about them in the process of getting a fitness technology certificate.
3. Who knows, maybe I would even get a job there! LOL
Anyway, I am very excited about this. Right after we joined, I jumped on the treadmill and did an interval workout where I totally blasted 400 cals. Woot!

Big Steps

It's official. I have resigned from my position at the university. It was a very scary move. It was like - this is really it. I am really moving forward, moving on. I wrote the letter, and it took me a while to send it. But I know it was the right decision. Then, last night I was chatting with my mom. My mom is not big on change. When I suggest any big move on something - her reaction is usually "really?" "Are you sure?"... that's just how she is. Cautious. Last night she told me that even though she is usually nervous about change, she thinks I am making the absolute right decision in moving into this new career. She said the really feels I can make a difference in peoples lives, and that NOW is the right time. She knows I worry about the kids, and not spending enough time with them, but so much of this decision is for them. So that I can be secure in the future, and give them what they need. It will be hard sometimes, but worth it in the end. My mom said I was brave. I cried. Her support is so important to me, and she always has my back - but for her to tell me she REALLY believes that this is the right move - well, it just solidified everything for me. My mom is my mother and best friend rolled into one. She is such a rock for me in my life. Her support and approval is beyond important. And I have it.
I have another appointment with the head of nutrition at the Hospital of St. Raphael's next week. I am very excited to see this side of this career. She seems very nice and I thanked her about 8 times for her time. I am sure she is incredibly busy. I am seeing her and another nutritionist, Jenn Krebs, on the same day. Lots on info on Wednesday - and maybe even a pedicure in between! :-)