Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On Why I Love Even Those Who Are Haters And Why I Do It For The Doubters!

On Why I love Even Those Who Are Haters and Why I Do It For The Doubters!

BEAST Mode Day 366.

Have I warned you guys yet that every conversation I have is a potential blog topic? I swear I don’t do it on purpose. There are times that I have these incredible conversations with myself and then I think, ‘Wait, should I write about this?’ Then, there are other times when friends suggest that I write one…this, my friends, is one of those times!

Last week I came across a friend’s Facebook status update that asked the following questions: 

“working on a final class project...help me out...let me know:

how has community defined your development?
thank you!

About an hour later, I asked if she was still looking for answers. Because she said she was, and because my answer was not the typical answer college professors want to hear, I decided to respond to her through private messenger.

The following is my response:

So after I decide that I would write about it, I begin taking a mental inventory of everyone in my community. I instantly begin to think of all of the individuals who have not only doubted WHY I am on this journey or HOW I have been able to be successful, but I have (and this is more important) also noticed how many more allies I have!

A lot of my blog has been dedicated to thanking those who have been so helpful and supportive. For the sake of shaking things up a bit, let's talk about those who don't quite buy into the idea of the success of this journey.

I get it. It's hard to believe that someone like me--a food addict who at one point in my life viewed the gym as my enemy--would completely change my lifestyle to make physical fitness and proper nutrition a PRIORITY in my life. Heck, if you want me to be completely honest, I still have a hard time believing it myself. 366 days later, it's still a mystery to me how I stay away from milkshakes and fries and pizza and cotton candy and...and...and...

It took me quite a while to believe that change was possible for me, so why should I expect anyone else to believe in me? I guess that in a way that was the catalyst behind making my journey so public; I had to make sure that I was accountable to something and someone other than myself. In other words, the more people who knew about my journey, the more people would be able to call me out if they ever saw me with melted chocolate on my fingers--holding the smoking gun, for example. There were plenty of eyes and doubters waiting to see me fail. These people were all a part of my community.

The doubters. There weren't many, but they were there. They are there. They are the ones who fuel my success. I am sure that at some point in their life and in their various journeys someone has told them that they will not be successful. This is fact. And because of this I feel that a heavy weight is placed on my shoulders to perform my best, so that I can show that just because someone tells you that you can't do it, it doesn't mean that you have to listen! 


This person will undoubtedly be a part of your "community"--by choice or by circumstance. So when it's your turn and when it's your journey, don't succeed despite the haters and the doubters, succeed FOR the haters and the doubters. You will be helping them more than you know it. Everyone loves a good old-fashioned success story, right?

I'm curious, what's YOUR definition of community?

Monday, June 23, 2014

On Earning My Wings

BEAST Mode Day 365.

I have been waiting for this day to get here as much as my children await the arrival of Los Tres Reyes: as if there were some gifts that camels would bring for me, or if tamales and champurrado would be waiting for me on the kitchen table when I woke up. 

This morning was like any other on this journey. I woke up. I walked to the bathroom to turn the shower water on. I bent down to touch my toes and I got emotional, you know, the kind of emotional when you don’t want your eyes to water but you really have no control. Maybe I should explain.

366 days ago I couldn’t touch my toes unless I sat on a chair (or on my bed) and maneuvered my body in such a way that I was bending sideways. Better yet, in order to tie my shoes I would have to lift my foot onto a chair and bend over to tie them. This, my friends, was my reality at 334 pounds. It never really bothered me because it is just the way it always has been for me. I adapted to the abilities of my body and never thought I needed to do anything about it.

And then the challenge to change happened:
Joseph Rose I smell a challenge!! You can TOTALLY do a 10K by October!! Come on Lori!! Do it!! I will donate to your fundraiser. $20.00/per Kilometer. Deal?
Lorena Ortega The last time I ran was in high school when I was forced in PE. (Oh, and when I chase after Wolfie)
How would a 1k even be possible, let alone a 10k?
Oh man, now I'm scared...lol

Joseph Rose CALL TO LORI'S FRIENDS: Who thinks she can do a 10K by October?? Baby steps BABY!!
Lorena Ortega Officially freaking out. I have been challenged, and I realize that in order to ask for support, I should at least attempt to do this...
Lorena Ortega DEAL
Joseph Rose It's in writing!! Now...time to train. When do you wanna start?

That was the Facebook conversation that changed my life. That is the Facebook conversation that started this BEAST Mode Day --- training. A new lifestyle was inevitable. Change was inevitable Tears were optional.

We set out on a mission to complete a 10k, but along the road we found that in order to be able to fulfill that mission, I needed to take inventory of every aspect of my life. Was it easy? You be the judge!

I began by taking inventory of the thoughts floating around in my head. What I noticed first is the amount of negative thoughts that came up; I don’t have running shoes, I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t have time, I am too tired, I am too fat, I don’t have anyone to watch my children, I don’t have the wardrobe, I am too fat, I am too fat, I am too fat.

I then began taking a physical inventory of the things already in my life that could help me on my new journey; I had a pair of Adidas indoor soccer shoes—they would work, I had a supportive husband who would be able to watch the children while I walked—that would work, I had a closet full of hoodies and stretch pants, my uniform of daily living—that would work, Joe said all we needed was a line in the ground and my body weight—that would be my gym.

Lastly, I had to change my mindset. This was by far the most difficult task of all. I was so used to always confronting obstacles head-on, trying once, and when failing, seeking ways around them. This was the story of my life. It wasn’t that I was ever looking for shortcuts; I just found it more effective to not spend so much time pounding my head against a wall. I had to change my failure-pessimistic-grassisalwaysgreenerontheotherside mindset if I were to succeed.

I was blessed from day one to have people in my journey who would always make sure that I always felt like a champion. My family, Joe, Sean, Trevor, my friends, my FRENEMIES, and my co-workers all were instrumental in making sure that the bumps along the road were cushioned. I am forever grateful for the support system that I have. There is absolutely no way I would have been able to get through most days without it!

I have learned many things about myself while pushing through this last year:
·         I really don’t need fries at every meal. As a matter of fact, I am 365 days clean of any fried foods going into my body.
·         Pizza is not my best friend when I am hungry. I haven’t had a slice of pizza in 365 days.
·         Donuts were never an ally. At one time of my life, they were my choice comfort food. Funny how they haven’t provided me comfort for 365 days, yet I am still alive!
·         Skipping meals doesn’t make me skinny. I don’t want to be skinny. I want to eat.
·         Sweating is cute. I always shied away from activity that would make me sweat. I now actively seek ways to sweat.
·         I am faster than my four-year-old. He thinks he is a ninja. I am still faster.
·         I don’t have to eat my children’s leftovers for the sake of not wasting food. I have learned that Tupperware is my best friend. If they don’t finish it now, they can eat it as leftovers later!
·         I don’t have to have tortillas or bread with every meal. I have forgotten what white bread tastes like. Tortillas are an afterthought-and often forgotten about.
·         I love to cook. I love trying new recipes. Did I mention that I love to cook?
·         Although my mind tells me that there are times I can’t keep going, my body is stubborn.
·         365 days are not enough. I still have at least another 18,250 days left of this journey.

I have so much more to write, so many more miles to walk, and so many more journeys (of others) to witness. One of the first things I remember saying was that I was going to start a running revolution. I am not a runner…yet. I am, however, a CHAMPION!

There aren’t enough minutes in TODAY to write a blog post worthy of 365 days of awesome-ness. So, the next 365 days I will focus on not only reaching my weight loss and fitness goals and documenting them through this blog, but I will also actively seek ways to help my community reach their own healthy goals.

One of the proudest accomplishments of this year was kicking off our (soon-to-be) non-profit, Lori’s Home. In my next blog post I will explain it in more detail, along with ways in which you can help other people like me, who may not have the resources to help them be successful in their journey.

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for staying with me on days that I didn’t even want to stay with myself. Thank you for always encouraging me through Facebook messages, virtual hugs, and even virtual lectures! Know that there is no way that this journey would be successful if it weren’t for YOU.

For the last 365 this journey has had feet. I believe I have earned my wings…it’s time to soar.

Life is good.

Friday, June 6, 2014

On Surfing (but I never got on a board), Turning 44 (but I am only 42), and Having Donuts with an Abercrombie and Fitch Model.

(Written on Thursday, June 5th)
BEAST Mode Day 347

This journey is exhausting. There. I said it. I am not taking it back!

Those of you who follow the journey through Facebook will know that I have joined Chuze Fitness across the street from my house. I became a member there to be able to motivate Juanito to get moving, and to also join other friends who have decided to begin journeys of their own. TZone  and my trainers (Joe, Sean, and Trevor) will always be my home and my family, but I feel that what I have learned there is needed right now by my friends and family—I am blessed to be able to share the knowledge!

When I first enrolled at Chuze, the awesome salesperson, Daniel, told me that I would be entitled to a free personal training session that would show me how to use the machines and give me a comprehensive breakdown of how to meet my health and fitness needs. SOLD!

After two months of stalling on this session, I finally gave in last night and made the appointment to meet with a trainer today. I guess I should come clean about why I waited so long, right? The truth is that I hate hearing the truth. I don’t like going to see my doctor because all he does is impart Truth about my health. Why, then, would I willingly go to see a trainer who will put my information in a computer just to tell me that I am fat? What gives them the right? Who made up the program? Will he break it to me softly? Will I lose my mind when the computer starts putting together a graph of everything I do incorrectly? Which trainer do I choose? Ugh, so many things to consider and each time I would approach the front desk, I thought of another excuse as to why I couldn't attend the session.

Today would be different. I went in with the attitude that I would not let it defeat me. Then I walked in. Then I heard the word “burrito” being said and all my caution went out the door. I began imagining the burrito in front of me…refried beans, rice, chicken, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, cheese, and more cheese! I metaphorically began spilling the beans…about my journey. I was telling everyone at the front desk how long it had been since I had eaten a burrito and why. I spoke about my journey and how many changes I had made in my life since the inception of it. I think the trainer could tell that I was trying to avoid going on with our session. He said, “Ok, so I know you have to go to work, so do you want to get started?”

I wanted to run. When I say this, I am not talking about the treadmill. I mean that I wanted to run out the door and back into the safety of my home where the computer doesn’t tell me that I am fat, it only tells me that I have mail! I sucked it up and followed him into the Ab Room, where the computers we would use are located.

We sit.

We talk. Actually, I talk. I begin my nervous chatter again about BEAST Mode and the journey and my trainers at TZone and my friends Maria, Linda, and Heidi, and food. And then I say, “So, yeah, I have this blog that I write, and I like to write about things that are significant. So in the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that I will more than likely write about today’s experience.” When I see that I haven’t lost him yet, I add, “And I will probably need to take a picture with you to put in the blog. I hope that’s OK with you.” I half-expected him to say no to me and stand up and walk away—I mean, HE would get up and walk away, not me. He didn’t. He responded by saying, “Yes, that would be great. We can take a picture when we are all done.” (I think this is what he said because that’s what I interpreted it as…lol)

We got down to business. He began asking me the requisite questions: age, how much do I smoke, how much do I drink, health concerns, what are my priorities with my fitness journey, how often do I eat fast food, how many meals and snacks I eat a day, etc. I answered each one of the questions as they came my way. It felt like the survey would never end. As a matter of fact, I didn't want it to end because I knew the end contained Truth…I didn't think I wanted to hear it.

So I began my chatter again, only this time it was about the race I hope to run in Vallarta in the fall. He begins to talk about his upcoming trip to Costa Rica and family he has in Cancun—there it was! I knew it. I ask, “Wait, do you speak Spanish?” He answers, “A little bit.” “I knew it! I knew you were Brown,” I say as I am practically jumping out of my seat with excitement. He explains that he is Mexican, Italian, and (I think) French (I forget). Aha—this helps to confirm my belief that this guy is an Abercrombie and Fitch model on his days off!

“What are you going to do while you are in Costa Rica? Is it for business or pleasure?” I ask. WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF MINE? Is what he should have answered, but instead he says, “I am just going down there to relax and surf.” My response? Do you really want to know?

“Wow, that’s so cool. Surfing is one of my ‘Bucket List’ items.” Seriously, did that come out of my mouth? Did I all of a sudden become a character out of an old Beach Boys video and believe myself to be a beach bunny? Of course surfing is on my ‘Bucket List’ and of course I will one day fulfill that wish, but the next words that come out of his mouth were not words I expected. With all the confidence in the world that he could save me if I were drowning in a raging storm, he says, “I have extra boards whenever you want to go out and learn.” Crap. As I write this blog, I honestly can’t remember what my response was. I am sure that in my mind I was already ripping off my Nike yoga pants to expose the board shorts I was wearing underneath. Also, I am sure that the stained white t-shirt that I was wearing magically turned into a Roxy rash guard…I digress.

We arrive to the part of the survey where he needs to enter my weight, height, and body fat percentage. It asked me where I believed that I carried most of my weight/fat. There was no option for ALL OVER MY BODY so I chose the midsection.  I freak out when I see the next screen. It was a 3-D model of what the computer believed my body to look like. She was a lady who was white from head to toe, small shoulders, round midsection, and thin(ner) legs. I was waiting for him to look at me and make adjustments according to what he saw. I seriously panicked for a minute waiting for that uncomfortable pause in his speech to pass, when I finally realized that he was waiting for me to respond before he moved to the next screen. “YES!” I practically screamed, just so I wouldn't allow him time to realize that the lady on the screen looked nothing like me. We move on.

As we come to the end of the questions and it is about to spit out my results, he lets me down gently by telling me that I only have to lose about 72 more pounds in order to reach my goal. It took everything in me not to choke him out. Does he have any idea what I have given up thus far just to lose what I have lost? Does he know that instead of counting sheep to fall asleep, I count curly fries? Does he know that I cry a little every time I pass by a Tommy’s and don’t order a double cheeseburger with extra onions and chili cheese fries? Does he sense the panic in my body because meeting the goal the computer spit out meant that I couldn’t celebrate my BEAST Mode anniversary with a vodka binge? And lastly, does he know that all I really want to do is hit the delete button on his keyboard and start all over?

Yes. Yes, he does know this because the look on his face told me that I am not the first person who has freaked out on him. And instead of asking me to relax or telling me that hard work will get me where I need to be, he studies my face, works his magic on the keyboard, and shows me ATTAINABLE AND REALISTIC goals. It was as though he passed the ‘just kidding’ wand over my eyes and erased all the self-doubting and self-loathing thoughts out of my mind, and with them went my excuses (a million of them) as to why my journey would need to come to an end.

The final page of my results revealed the most significant thing I learned today, and the scariest. The results are compiled and it gives you three ages; the first age is your actual age, the second age is the age that your body thinks it is based on lifestyle choices and family medical history, and the third age is what your body will think it is when the prescribed goals are met. My actual age is 42.5 years. My body thinks it is 44. WHEN I meet my goals, my body will think that it is 37.

I gasped when those results flashed across the screen. At first I was elated because my body only thinks it is a year and a half older than it actually is—score! Then I was doubly elated to see that if I met my goals, I would be back in my thirties without even needing to click my red heels together. SCORE X 2!

My results were immediately e-mailed to me (I can post them at a later date if you all want to see them) and my session was over. As I got up to get ready to leave, the trainer reminds me that I can always go to him with any questions that I may have about the machines and about the free-weight area that I was inquiring about. I smiled and thanked him for his time and he reminded me that we still needed to go to the front to take our picture. Ha! I had let it slip my mind because I was so busy thinking about getting on that surfboard!

By now (if you’re still reading this) you are probably asking why I dedicated a whole blog post to finding out that my body thinks it is 44 years old. That’s not why I wrote this. OK, so maybe you are thinking that this is an advertisement or endorsement for Chuze Fitness. That’s also not why I wrote this—they will do just fine with or without this blog post. You want to try to guess again? No? You hate guessing? Yeah, me, too.

The reason why I wrote this blog is because I was afraid. After a year of working my ass off in the gym, eating as cleanly as I can, and spreading the importance of beginning your own journey, one would think that situations like this would be something I would easily get through. Do you remember my last blog post when I stated that your journey will be filled with curves and hills and valleys and dark tunnels? Well, I anticipated this experience to be a dark tunnel and I am afraid of the dark!


It didn't knock me off of my journey…IT OPENED MY EYES TO THE IMPORTANCE OF MY JOURNEY.

It didn't blind me from the fact that I have come a long, long way to get where I am…IT TOOK AWAY THE FOCUS OF HOW MUCH FURTHER I HAVE TO GO.


It didn't define me…I DEFINE ME.

It didn't make me feel like a loser…I CHOOSE TO BE A CHAMPION.

Lastly, it helped me to remember that many different people positively contribute to my journey. The results of my survey, whether positive or negative, would not have the power to change my course—nor would the person delivering the news to me. However, something tells me that if he would have asked me to a coffee and donuts session, I would have offered to brew the coffee myself! I am thankful that Creator put Anthony in my path, though he may have thought me to be a neurotic old lady!

Go forth, my friends, and don’t be afraid to read your Truths splashed across a computer screen. Embrace every experience on your journey as a learning experience. Mindset…make sure you set the dial to “growth” and keep it away from the “self-sabotage” setting. I believe in YOU. I believe in the success of YOUR journey.

Life is good.

Anthony and myself after my Truth session.