Run the World, Thank the World, Pay it Forward

(Photo Nov. 2016)

Whaaaat? You want me to speak again? Ok, but I can’t promise you that I won’t cry…again.

HOLD UP! Reeeeewind. Here’s a little back story…It was around this time last year when El Diabs (Jenn Reyes) asked me to speak at Run The World last February. I thought “You want me to speak at a fitness event?! Easy-breezey. I’ve lost 100lbs. That’s all I gotta say and boom, mic drop.” 
As the event got closer I thought, “Oh snap, there will be new fit buddies to meet. Gotta look on point.” I spent double the amount of time at the studio/gym.  Since I wasn’t too good at the meal prep game yet, I wasn’t really eating right.  Overworking your body and not properly feeding it…bad combination. Something I’d discover soon enough. 

Also around this time, I started to get distracted (again). Some familiar faces came back around and I thought, “Hmm…maybe this time.” NOPE. Faaack. Here’s the thing, when you start compromising yourself and when you’re not true to yourself, you end up surrounding yourself with people who aren’t going to be true to you either. They eventually leave. And it sucks. So how do you deal with feeling some type of way? Take those emotions out at the gym. Oh yeah! Team No Rest Days!  Woohoo! Nope. I basically supersized the bad combo of overworking my body and not eating right by adding more workouts and mental/emotionally stress. RED FLAG, ANGEL!! Stoppppp!…too late. 

After weeks of doubling up on Ripped, Love The Journey Workshops, and Zumba, my body was done. Clean and press with a kettle bell is my isht. I own that exercise. That day, I couldn’t even lift, bro. Ugh. So tired and it was noticeable. 

Sure enough, interrogation starts. “You’re usually more explosive than that. Everything ok? Have you been getting enough rest? Have you been eating enough?” 

“I’m good. Just a little tired.” Stop lying Angel! She’s gonna know! She probably already doessssss know!! 

I woke up the next morning to a text, “Rest day today.”

After a quick discussion with my fit besties (Bri and Matt) about what the possible consequences would be if I violated orders to rest, I decided ok fine rest it is. After a few hours of much needed sleep, I woke up recharged and refreshed and most importantly, I woke up thankful. Thankful that there were people in my life who were concerned about my well-being.  

(Photo Feb. 2016)

Event day came up and I was ready. Because of the team, I was able to speak from my heart. I wasn’t too worried about what people would think of me or if people would look at me differently after hearing what I had to say. I knew that no matter what happened, they had my back. Stronger together. After the high fives, the hugs, some tears and about 50 new fit buddies, I left that event inspired. Inspired to inspire.

(Photo Feb. 2016)

So what does one do to say thank you? How do you say thank you to people who have sparked joy in your life and people who believed in you when you stopped believing in yourself? You say thank you by paying it forward. You become the spark for someone else. You take the torch and you run with it! A few months after Run the World, your girl got certified to be a Ripped instructor! Ayyyyyyyyy!

(Photo May 2016)

Never in a million years did I think that was possible. Even taking a Ripped class would have been a mission. 3 years ago, I would have said, “Nah.” I was busy at the bars drinking, chasing, and trippin’ (…on feelings. LOL. I just have a lot of them). I know what being alone feels like, but I also know what it feels like when someone makes you feel like you’re part of the team. I sometimes can’t catch a beat to save my life but when I’m teaching a class or taking a class, I’m all in. So be all in. In that hour, be there with your whole heart. Spark joy and pay it forward. You might be the reason someone feels like they’re part of the team too. Stronger together.

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Catch me, I’m falling

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Butterflies, weak knees, uncontrollable smiling when her name came up on my phone…Danger! Danger! The Captain is in love…

I’m often asked what started my health and fitness journey…Truth be told, I fell for someone who didn’t catch me. Ouch. Whether I was physically too heavy or emotionally too heavy, it just didn’t work out and the fairytale ended before it began. Before I go on, let me make this clear…this is not a post about a break-up. There was no break-up. We were never officially anything more than just friends. Two people in two different places in our lives that just happened to spend a lot of time together. When that ended, I needed to find something to occupy my time and my thoughts. Dieting and working out seemed to be a pretty good distraction from my feelings (which I have a lot of…y’all already know this).  I started hiking at Runyon Canyon. Something peaceful about the view up there. Since I wasn’t going out that much anymore, I didn’t need to be at the usual after-the-club eating spots (Denny’s, King Taco, etc.). 

After a few months, people started to notice a little bit of a weight loss. I ran with that momentum and by the end of 2014, I lost almost 50lbs. 

Some time in the last two years, I fell in love with myself. What started as a way to keep me from getting lost in my emotions turned into a journey towards self discovery. I became all the things I wanted in a person: passionate, driven and focused. My sense of self worth a lot higher than it was back then. All of a sudden, eating healthy and working out mean something more. Every chicken wing I say no to, every nacho I pass up, every swing, every squat, every second in plank is a tribute to what I’ve become. The level of commitment to get this far is the same level of commitment I can apply in relationships with my family, my friends, and one day someone special. Cheers to 2016! New year, better me. Ready for all of life’s (and love’s) possibilities.

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Love the Journey

  
 Two years ago my then 5 year old Goddaughter said to me, “If you give a piece of your heart to everyone, you won’t have anything left for yourself…” A few months ago, as if she was following up on the lesson she taught me, said to me “…it’s ok though because there will be people who will give you a piece of theirs so you won’t ever feel empty.” Genius. 

Over the last few months, I’ve come across some of the most amazing people. People who have invited me into their lives and have become a big part of mine. They keep me encouraged, they keep me motivated, they make me feel loved and most importantly they’ve taught me that I can be myself. 

JennDogg aka El Diablo aka Oberon. This punk has been part of my life for more than 20 years but has made her presence felt more than ever over the last couple of years…Don’t let that smile fool you, her bite is just as hard as her bark. Stuck with her forever…possibly longer. FML. 

Vanessa. She feels bad for making us run (but she still does it). She thinks I’m a masterpiece 😁😍🙌🏼  She’s my favorite. 

 
Alfred and Sonia. He and I had a class together years ago. One time all we did was practice our signatures! Mine has stuck ever since. Because of him, I met her. Swolemates. Body and relationship goals.

 
Ann. I met her last year at a going away party. While holding a plate of nachos, I heard her say, “I have a weigh-in tomorrow, but I don’t give a fcuk!” I thought to myself, “Amazing. One day, I’m going to be good friends with that woman.” Glad that day finally came! 
  

Bri and Matt. Two of my favorite food buddies…I mean workout buddies. Can’t tell you how many nights I’ve just wanted to stay home or eat junk food but the “get your ass up” texts and the “we need to look hot” discussions motivated me to workout.  Bri compliments me all the time but it’s her progress pics that are amazing! Matthew’s drive and determination keep me motivated. Beast mode for sure. 

  There are others: Marzie who abandoned me to work out only at night…jk. Ray who I low key am jealous of cuz his amazing progress. He’s the LTJ superstar. One day, I’ll be up front like him. Nikki who keeps me cracking up all the time. I am legit sad when she’s not there. 

I don’t love working out. It’s early in the morning and every exercise gets harder and harder. It’s the people and the vibe that I love. I realized there’s never really going to be an end goal. There’s always going to be something bigger and better to work for. The destination ended up not being as important to me as the people I’ve come across along the way. Because of them, I know what it truly means to Love The Journey. 😉 

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Love the skin you’re in

 
It’s kind of an issue that my double Ds aka my source of power have been shrinking cuz of my weight loss. 

After having denied it for so long, I decided to go to my usual department store a few weeks ago…you know the one, the one that’s specifically for big girls. Anyway…the ladies are always super friendly to me and that day, it’s like a relationship was ending. I roll up to my usual sales lady and tell her, “My boobs are shrinking, it’s a problem.” After she takes my measurements she tells me, “Sweetie (I think it’s adorable when she says that), we’re running out of sizes for you. Soon, you’ll be too small for this place.” She set me up with a few things to try on and as I’m in the dressing room, I think to myself, “I need to take a pic so I can get a thumbs up or down from the crew.” The crew being my girl cousins and their bffs. Girly isht that I’m not used to so the more opinions, the better. I totally forget about the picture cuz I hear people come into the store and now I’m all about paying and getting outta there.  The lady rings me up and says to me, “Take care, Sweetie.” I walked outta there thinking I’ll be back from time to time to at least buy an accessory or something so I have an excuse to say hi. 

A few days later I found the pic and remembered that somewhere I had another pic from the beginning of the year. I’ve never had the guts to take a pic of myself without a shirt on prior to this year and if I did, that isht was deleted off my phone stat in fear someone might swipe and see it. YIKES! I put the two side by side and was like hmm. I managed to round up some courage and send it to some peeps thinking, “Are people gonna make fun of me for this?” The answer was the same across the bored… “You should be proud of where you are. It’s inspiring.” 

I know what it feels like to have to wear a sweater during the summer. Uncomfortable showing any kind of skin cuz of how big I was. I also know how it feels to have to stand in the back of the picture cuz I’m “taller” than all the other girls. The struggle of having to be surrounded by pretty girls all the time, I know, poor me…Blah, blah…sometimes I see the girl on the left and I turn away. It’s hard to look at and think that was me. Other times, I see that girl and am like, “That bitch is a badass…courage, strength, and drive…if not for her, the girl on the right wouldn’t exist. Good job. Yay me.” I used to struggle with staying motivated and inspired. I’m fortunate to have an amazing fitfam that keeps me going. On the days I’m not around them, I’ve found inspiration within myself. I can’t really find the words to express the feeling, but it’s like a high. I’m confident that I’m always gonna have the support of my friends and family but in the off chance I don’t, the person in the mirror will always be there. Hey girl, hey!! 

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All of a sudden in the car show scene. Lol. 

I came to Spocom 2013 to support some friends. This year I was given the opportunity to experience it from behind the scenes. Same big smile and same big heart but physically stronger and mentally more focused. When what inspired you at the beginning is no longer there, find something else and keep it moving. Be your own muse and don’t give up. 260lbs to 200lbs wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. My heart and mind are always in the game but some days my body is just done and nachos sound like a way better idea than working out. Looking at old pictures of myself makes me feel some type of way. I don’t even recognize that person anymore. I’ve come so far that going back isn’t an option. Blessed and thankful to have people around who keep me motivated. Past, present and future…everyone in my life matters.
  

  

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Coulda, shoulda, woulda…

  

I know, I know…it’s been a while since I last posted, my bad.  Anyway…

I could have hit 300lbs.  I should have taken better care of myself.  I would have seen results sooner.  Blah, blah, blah…talk is cheap and actions speak way louder than words. 

March 2012 was the first time I actually saw the number on the scale, 286. I was probably pushing higher than that before then. By Sept 2012, I had clocked in a whopping 4lb loss.  By the end of 2012, I was at 275. Clearly I wasn’t taking my health seriously yet.  

At the beginning of 2013, I made the same “new year, new me” promise I do every year and was able to clock in about a 20+ loss by June. Something happened over the summer though. I let myself fall and get distracted. My health and fitness took a back seat to other things.  I prioritized going out every night.  With each night of partying came a lot of drinking and a lot of late night unhealthy eating (seasoned fries at Denny’s, I miss you).  I still had to wake up every morning for work which means I got hardly any sleep. I let myself get stressed out about things I couldn’t control.  All bad behavior.  If I continued the way I was going, I could have easily reached 300.  Luckily I was still able to clock another 10lb loss by the end of that year.  I gotta admit I do miss going out a lot and I sometimes miss the people I used to go out with (especially…um, never mind…lol).  

I think it was sometime at the very beginning of 2014 I was driving to Brea Mall and thought to myself, “New year, new me again? Maybe for reals this time.” I committed to eating healthier and a year later…boom! Close to a 50lb loss!  Who knew eating out less would be the key!?!  LOL…pervs.  

It hasn’t been easy and it probably won’t get any easier but it’ll be worth it. Eating healthy(ish) is second nature to me already.  Gotta kick it up now and start working out.  Today was day 2 of Love The Journey workshop training with Jenn (a different one.  LOL…Reyes).  As soon as the soreness of everything goes away, I’ll write more about that.  

Till next time…ADC out!

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January Recap

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I know, I know…it’s not always about the number on the scale, it’s also about how your clothes fit and how much more energy you have, blah, blah, blah…But I like to keep track of my number cuz it keeps me on check. I figured out the pattern…the more crappy food I ate, the more I gained. Duh. The first peak was during the holidays. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t resist all the yummy unhealthy food. The second peak was Party of 5 Vegas. Do I even need to explain the temptations in Vegas? Didn’t think so.

January wasn’t a complete burn though, I still clocked in about a 5lb loss. Yay!

A few important things to note…

After Vegas, I tried the cabbage diet. My buddy, Trish, introduced me to it. Tricia, if you’re reading this, you owe me a hiking trip by the way, and lunch. Anyway…I resisted at first but figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it since I had just been cheating on my diet all weekend. There are a lot of versions of this diet, but we did the one found on divascancook.com. It worked out pretty well. Definitely evened out the weight I gained over Vegas weekend and I actually ended up liking the soup. I like it so much in fact that I still have it every now and then. It’s a small step up (solid foodwise) from the smoothies I usually have every day.

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Over the month, I clocked in 800 minutes of cardio which included mostly walking and some hiking. Total miles: 44.5. Most of those miles were at work during breaks and lunches. I averaged about 1.8 miles per work day. Looking to step up my game and get those numbers higher for February…oh crap!…February ends in like 2 weeks!

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Family First

Disclaimer – My bad if I don’t have updated pics of me and your children. I promise to make time this season. Anyway…

It was at Cathy’s graduation party in 2012 where the Boss Cousin Grace said to me, “We need you around to help raise the kids.” I didn’t realize till now that it was her nice way of telling me that I needed to change my habits and get myself healthy.

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2015/02/img_0033.jpg (see? Even my plate is healthier…a salad! LOL!)

Pictured above on the left was at my Goddaughter, Madison’s 2nd birthday. I must have weighed close to 300lbs. The picture on the right is from last Saturday. My baby girl turned 7! Ugh, can’t imagine what character I’m gonna have to wear on my shirt next year!…I swear that looks like a p…pickle. Yeah, we’ll go with that. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that kid. She thinks I’m amazing and I wanna be around for a long time.

I have 9 Godkids: Melanie, Katrina, Malorie, Jaren, Carmichael, MJ, Madison, Aria and Julius. Being a Godparent doesn’t just mean I can write these kids a check on their birthdays/holidays and call it a day. Good Lord, that’s a lotta checks!…Anyway, being a Godparent also means I’ve been chosen to help lead, motivate and inspire these munchkins not only in their spiritual lives but in other aspects. Pictured below: Mason and Maddie. Teach Love, not H8. Whose idea do you think that was? LOL.

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My half-white nephew Gavinskie pictured below with Gwenskie, loves to skateboard. If he skates too far out and I don’t get him with one look (I usually do), I’m going to have to run after him. At almost 300lbs, that was impossible without running out of breath. At 208ish, I can sprint after him if I needed to. Keyword: If… ‘cuz eff that, I’m still not trying to run.

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In the We Get Awesome circle, there are 13 great grandkids. In order…I think: Andrew, Jaren, Carmichael, Gavin, JJ, Xavier, Madison, AJ, Mason, Gwen, BJ5, Ivy and Julius. We have a bonus 6: Jerell, Arilyn, Solstice, Royal, Saya, and Kyra. See?! That’s a whole bunch of new Mariah fans in the making. And who better to teach them?…me! I love these kids (I think their parents are aiight too…j/k. I love them all as well). If I can’t even take care of myself, what makes me think I’ll be able to help take care of this crew?

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Making Health Count

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Disclaimer – Names may or may not need to be updated based on whether they see this and want me to remove them. LOL.

I work at a company where part of our motto is “Making Health Count.” As much as I promote that for clients, I never really took making my own health count seriously. In 2012 (pictured on the left at 286lbs), our corporate trainer, Carmen held a Biggest Loser competition in the office. That opened my eyes to just how big of a number I weighed in at. Even after seeing that number, I didn’t take it too seriously. I came up with our team name: Team Can I Get Extra Ranch? Cuz you know, fatties always need extra ranch. LOL. I probably only contributed a 5lb loss. Sadly, our team fell short and only claimed the second place title but our team captain, Rocio went on to win the individual prize. I should have been inspired by how much drive she had to win, but nah, chicken wings and nachos still held priority in my life.

At the beginning of 2013, I weighed in at about 275lbs. I jokingly told my work bff (who is now also one of my real life bffs), Abner that I would buy myself a big screen tv if I hit 250lb. You know what this ninja said after I told him? He goes, “What size screen? If you hit that mark, I gotchu, I’ll get it.” Snap! Let me tell you something about this dude…he pretty much signs off on all of my crazy ideas. If it doesn’t get us killed or thrown in jail, he’s in. He’s usually the one I drag out to Runyon Canyon or Sycamore Canyon super early in the morning to go hiking. He’s also the one I usually drag all over town to find $10 KBBQ spots…we’ll let that slide though. Anyhoo…at the end of 2013, around Thanksgiving…BOOM! See pic below. You the real MVP, Abskie! Yeah, I coulda and shoulda hit 250 sooner. I mean a free tv is a big deal, but again, I put other things on my list of priorities higher than my health.

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At the beginning of 2014, I started making smoothies for lunch instead of my usual Subway sandwiches. It was kind of a thing around here. A bunch of other people had the Nutribullet container at their desks. My buddy Sue even let me use her machine that she brought in from home. I think it’s when I asked Robin about what kind of juice she used for her smoothies that she recommended I watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Super eye-opening documentary. Check it out when y’all get the chance. Anyway…since then, Robin has been one of my biggest supporters in the office. Whether it’s a 5lb or a 50lb loss, she cheers me on congratulates me at every mark! Thanks, Robin.

There are a lot of other people in the office who have been pretty supportive (my bad if I didn’t name y’all specifically). The big boss man himself, Dr. G., has commented on my transformation. I can’t confirm nor deny that I purposely walk by so he notices. LOL. The entire first floor (where my little part of the workplace is) throw out compliments pretty often. Some of them bring me various fruits and vegetables from their gardens ‘cuz they know I’m on a mission. Thanks, guys. LOL. I see the sixth floor peeps maybe once or twice a week and the shock factor and the “Oh snap, you’ve lost weight!” keeps me motivated. There’s even a group up there who keep having to give me a smaller sized work shirt. Thanks, buddies! I’m currently in a new contest with my boss Randy and some other people (to be blogged about when I win ‘cuz I’m gonna bring cake every day). Stuff like that keeps me on check. The making of ADC 2.0 and my quest for 185 has become a thing around here now. As much as this is my own personal journey, it wouldn’t be the same without these folks having my back.

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Eating is not cheating – Part 2

That awkward moment when my weight loss blog starts looking more like a food blog…what happens in Vegas? Um…

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Our first night in Vegas, we checked out the Shake Shack. They said it was better than In & Out!…what?! Pretty bold statement so we had to check it out. I had the Smoke Shack (the burger that came with bacon!), cheese fries and a coffee flavored shake. All of it bomb! Not better than In & Out, just different.

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The next day…Lobster Me is always a fan favorite for us. I’ve had it before. Bomb as usual. Grilled cheese with lobster and lobster bisque.

That same night…Bacchanal Buffet. No words. The food was as good as the pictures. Super bomb! Wish I carried a purse or had a girlfriend who carried one. Lol.

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Cheating on my diet, oops, I mean new lifestyle, for a weekend sets me back at least a week. Yeah, yeah, cheat meals are fine every now and then (if they’re earned) but an entire weekend? Nah…I coulda/shoulda been stronger. I wish I woulda saw this gem BEFORE I went to Vegas. Lol.

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