Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We Wear The Mask

It's been a while.....I haven't had the energy to write much. 
This post is very different from anything I've shared before. Bear with me.

Very seldom will you see me with anything other than a smile on my face.
I have been told that I even smile in my sleep. On occasion, you may catch a shadow of sadness in my eyes...but it is deeper than that.  

I am the lonely soul drifting in a room full of people. Unless I have shared it with you directly, you would never know that I live with depression.

(Photo credit:We Wear the Mask by Pokii-kun on DeviantArt)

I choose to say that I live with depression, as opposed to suffering from it. The word suffer is difficult for me to own because it makes me feel like I am a victim. 

(Photo credit: The Mask We Wear. By Darcsunshine)

Yes...it's true.  I have lived with it since early childhood. When I was in high-school  I even attempted to take my life. I thank God every day for angels He sent along at the right point and time in my life. 

I share this to set myself free.
I share this not for pity, but for the purpose of empowerment. I pray that this revelation helps someone....even if only one person to realize that it's okay not to be a super being. 

You don't have to be strong all the time...and when you aren't, it doesn't mean you're weak and worthless. You don't have to keep it in or hide in shame. 

You don't have to suffer in silence. Get help...talk it out and keep praying. Don't succumb to the anguish. 

You owe it yourself and loved ones to be free of this overwhelming, often paralyzing burden. Peace, healing and love to you. Be free......

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Starting Over...Again

Life doesn't stop. Busy, stretched, tired.....many can attest to feeling this way. The problem is, many of us allow that feeling to rule our lives and soon, that morphs into a behavior.  That behavior can be destructive.  

That is where I am at now..today. My day begins around 4:30-5am, involves the rustling of my toddler, myself and then the daycare shuffle, total daily commute of roughly 3 hours (more on some days), a demanding career with long hours after hours,and lots to do on the home-front. This paired with the challenge of not having family available to help with relief at times takes a toll.

Over the past few months, this has lead to more frequent consumption of quick, not so healthy fast and easy to zap foods (Chick fil A or the hot bar or pizza at Wegmann’s typically),  decreased or no workouts, less walking, and less sleep. What’s this recipe? One that yields horrible results such as weight gain, lethargy, aggravated depression…an overall decrease in quality of life.

I love being a mother and wife, and before anything, my family comes first.  The issue.....I have not been consistent when it comes to making time for ME.  Whether it be working out, writing, mediating, reading....I can't tell you the last time I truly, really got down to the business of ME.  Sound familiar? Admit it....you can relate on some level and in many instances, beyond what my words have outlined. 

I broke down on my husband one day recently, sobbing in his arms feeling horrible at how I was once again able to wear the jeans I worked so hard to get out of. 176 pounds...and my body has been feeling every bit of it. I have been feeling so defeated, lost and disgusted with myself.  I felt so angry that I was so far away from where I said I would be...from where I had once been. 

I promised myself yet again that THIS MUST STOP....that I MUST make a CHANGE and get back to taking care of myself. After all....if the quality of my life is suffering, I am not living my life optimally. This is cheating....cheating myself and my family. 

So....after a brief pity party, I took a good look in the mirror and recommitted myself to ME.  

One day at a time...

Another mistake, I have realized, is that I keep thinking back to how it was after I lost all of that weight a few years ago; how fit and strong I was, how good I felt, how young I looked...how healthy I was.  Nothing wrong with wanting to get back on track....but I realize that trying to shove myself into a box from the past is also CHEATING ME. For one, my life is so very different from the first time I went down this road; I am back in corporate America, I am a mother of a beautiful little girl, my body has changed, circumstances have changed......Why not focus on improving from where I am today and perhaps, just maybe, exceeding the goals I achieved in the past? Why not that, instead?  

So, I am kind of babbling...but the bottom line is this; I have done it before and I will do it again.
It may take me longer, I will have to be more creative with my plan of action and my time...but 

One day at a time....

Through Christ, all things are possible.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Been A While…..

Hello World!
It has been quite some time since my last blog post. Time has gone by so quickly and I can't even keep up with myself these days.

The past 2-3 years have been pretty amazing.  Before I give you an update, however, let me quickly touch on how it all began (this blog). I began this blog in 2010 when I started my lifestyle evolution (focus on health, fitness and mental well-being).  I was tired of going up to the next size (had worked my way into what was quickly becoming a tight 14/16). I was depressed , exhausted and my body ached. I was so unhappy with the way I had become and tired of my own skin.

But you know…that wasn't it. The biggest motivator for me to take action was my desire to have a baby.  My husband and I had been talking about having a little one for several years. We had many reasons for waiting and waiting…and waiting. The biggest for me was my weight.  I did not want to have a baby and any additional to weight.  So….in spring of 2010….I finally began my lifestyle evolution!

God brought me through so many challenges and I ended up in the best shape of my life!  By summer of 2011, I was maintaining a size 7, and wearing tanks for the first time in countless years.  I spent that fall/winter enjoying figure hugging sweaters, skinny jeans and sleek riding boots.  The boost in confidence was a bonus…most importantly, my health had improved tremendously.

All along my journey I had shared fitness tips, homegrown recipes and other gems.  I began a Facebook Page called "Evolve With Kia" and grew to over 300 followers in just a few months. Tae bo,  P90X, Insanity, calisthenics, walking…all of those things helped me to reach my goals.  I was working out 6 days a week, sometimes 2-3 times a day. Without healthy eating of course, none of that would have made a difference (at least not for long).

In early 2012, my husband and I decided we were ready to begin our family.  It happened quicker than we thought it would and in April, it was confirmed that a sweet baby was indeed on the way!

My pregnancy was considered high risk and I nearly miscarried in the beginning.  Fibroids threatened to take away our blessing…but God had other plans!  It was challenging, painful and scary at times…but overall, I must say it was the most incredible and beautiful experience of my life.  Our precious daughter entered the world healthy and beautiful in December of that year, and our lives get better everyday because of her.

That brings me to now……November 2014. After having my daughter, my body changed…a lot. I lost  about 30 pounds right after she was born.  Since that time, my weight has been up and down. It has been challenging for me to maintain a consistent workout regime and healthy eating habits.  Being a full time mother, having demanding job with long hours (working late into the night after baby girl is asleep), having a husband who is on the road often, a dog to walk and care for, a house to keep, a side business to manage, not sleeping enough,....etc….LIFE.

I have gotten as close as being 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight in the past two years, and as high as what I was when I weighed myself over a week ago (171 pounds).  I don't look like I weight that much, but I do.  When I saw the number on those scales….I felt convicted.  I had again let things spiral out of control.

Yes…this was just a week ago…and yes, I am talking about as if more time has passed. The reason being, in just that short time…I have made a turn around.  And this time, like the last, I responded with something drastic.  Hardcore work……cardio, Insanity and a transition back into clean eating (no more Magnum Double Carmel ice-cream or chocolate candy). I will not go out that…God brought me to far to slide backward.

I have made a new commitment to myself.  I deserve to be healthy. Not just for my family….but for ME.  No more excuses. I am also going to make an effort to blog more frequently too.  I have to find time to take care of me….mind, body and spirit must all be nourished with the right food!  With God's help, I did it before and I will do it again! Stay tuned! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good Things to Come....Keep Showing Love

Hello to all of you out there! I hope this quick note finds you well. Lots going on in my life, but who can't say that, right? :) Anyway, I was just doing a bit of reflecting about all of my blessings, and I have come to realize, this blog is one of them. 

Reflection is good for the soul.

Over a year ago, I began this blog on a whim and it has come a long way. I love to write, and one day, I randomly created it.I thought at first it would just be a way for me to share my fitness journey with others. I figured I could use it as a platform to help others and also keep myself accountable by sharing my journey. This blog has become so much more than that. It has grown into something so powerful, insightful and inspiring. It is full of emotion, thoughts, goals, disappointments,sadness, victory, experience, etc. 

Thank you to each and every single one of you for following, subscribing, reading and interacting. Subscribers have grown to nearly 350. Those of you reading are from all over the world; U.S.; India, Italy,Singapore, Germany, Russia, the UK, Netherlands...and that is just a sampling. 
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I am so very honored and want to continue spreading positive, uplifting information across the globe. Empowerment is un-containable, and I appreciate your help in keeping it alive. 

I have some great blog posts coming up. Topics in the works include childhood obesity, Insanity vs. P90X, uncommon/nontraditional/unknown workout regimes (and their cultural roots). Lots of interesting things. Feel free to share this blog with others you believe could benefit from it in some way. 

Well, that's about it for now. I encourage you to stay tuned and keep fighting for your life! Much love, peace and blessings. Thanks again for your support. :) 

Make IT Work! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Rush the Process: Grieving & Healing are One

The morning of October 22, 2011 my phone began to vibrate. Before I looked, I knew. (I'd stayed up until 3am, working on a paper and was restless and emotional all night.) My Grandmother's name came up on my caller i.d., and my heart sank. I knew before I answered what she would say to me. I answered, and a heavy gasping cry came through the line saying, "Momma's gone." My Great-Grandmother had passed. I sank into my pillows and instantly began to sob. We had known for a few weeks that she was transitioning to leave this world, but that didn't make that moment any less painful.

94 years...that is a long time.Yes, it was a long and inspiring life she lived, but it hurts to lose her still. In her 94 years, this amazing woman gave birth to and raised 6 children.  The family grew to what now includes 37 grand children, 58 great-grandchildren (of which I am the oldest), and 27 great-great grandchildren. Her life was a living testimony of selfless giving, gentle kindness, grace, class and true Christian-hood. As big as our family is, she had a way of making you feel that you were special and the only one when she spoke with you (still you knew, that she loved EVERYONE).

I recall my little brother and I spending many a day with my Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather. I thank my Grandmother and Mom for this. As I grew older, I still enjoyed our visits. When I moved away, the visits were more stretched out, but I cherished our talks over the phone.

 At first, I felt guilty about my sadness. I kept telling myself that I had no right to be so distraught. But, as the days pass, I realize I have every right to my feelings and that I need to allow myself to experience them. It's the process of grieving, and it is exactly that; a process, not an event.When you lose a loved one, someone close to your heart, it hurts deeply. It takes time to heal and to fully realize and accept the loss of that loved one. There is not specific time frame for this, and it can be hard for others to understand and even respect. The universe remains, the earth continues to spin on its axis, the world moves forward and you too, must keep moving. But, it is not as simple as it seems for some. But, you must do it still.

When you are grieving, you experience a range of emotions. Sadness, regret, fear, anger, a feeling of emptiness. I have an empty feeling inside. I haven't felt like talking to anyone, or seeing anyone, and even my fitness regime has been painful to get through. I am not crying as much as I had been, but I have my moments.

I may be rambling at this point, but I want you to know that you must allow yourself to grieve. Do not worry about what others think. You must keep moving, but you must also grieve so that you can move forward and live a fruitful life. Remember, this is a process, not an event. There is no "sure fire" way to "overcome" the pain, but there are many resources that can help you along the way. I came across this on line and thought I would share it with you.

This resource talks about the seven stages of grief; pain, guilt, transition and moving forward.

This resources breaks down five steps to managing grief.

There are many resources available on line, but in my opinion, the best thing is time, prayer and cherishing the memories in a way that gives you the strength and comfort to keep living through each day. It is also important to surround yourself with love. You may not want to be bothered much, and you will need some time alone, but reach out to loved ones and support one another as well. Your loved one would not want you to live in sadness or to put your life on pause. My Great-Grandmother would not want that for me. I am going through the process, and with time and prayer, my heart will be strong again. I know the pain I feel is probably a drop in the bucket compared to that of her children (my Grandmother and her siblings). I will do my best to live a life that honors her incredible legacy.

This past week, I traveled back to my hometown and had the opportunity to spend time with much of my family. It was bittersweet. Some of them I had not seen in years. In there faces, I saw my Great-Grandmother. It was an emotional time and for the first time, she was not there with us...but her spirit was. 

I am so grateful for the time I had with my Great-Grandmother and I will forever cherish each memory, moment, letter, book and trinket ever shared between us.  I was so blessed to have as many conversations with my Great-Grandmother as I did about her life, our family history. She imparted so many lessons and led by example. I will continue working on our family history and sharing with each generation, current and future,so that all will know the roots of who we are. Life is so precious and short, death reminds us of this, cloaking our hearts with anguish, seeping into our thoughts cultivating despair. Yet, even from this, we can harness hope. We know that love is endless, even in death. My Great-Grandmother lives still. Her spirit is alive. She lives through her stories, through her example, through her selfless deeds, through her children and the generations thereof.

To you out there grieving, God be with you. Keep moving, keep living......give yourself time to grieve and heal. Be grateful for the current soundness of you mind that allows you to keep the memories reeling (though the vividness may one day fade). Cherish your life, your elders, your family. Your mental state is critical to your total health. Take care of yourself. 

~Rest in Peace Great O~

Make IT Work

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well & Wise On the Road (M & M's)

Do you do anything special to prepare for long drives on the road? Of course you have your suitcase or bags full of clothing and other necessities. Don't forget that cell phone charger, your navigation system (and or maps) and you most definitely need some good tunes to jam to, so a solid playlist is a MUST!

Something else that is certain, you'll need fuel for two vehicles; your car, and your body. Good fuel is critical for both, but we tend to worry more about the quality of what goes in our cars, than we do our bodies.

This brings me to a question for you; do you eat well and wise on the road? It is not as difficult as you think.To avoid those unhealthy foods and snacks that will beckon for you at each exit, pack things like seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, low cal snack options and bottled water. You will save money, time and most importantly, YOU!

Think of your supply of food like an "arsenal". You need a map/navigation system,
and fuel for your car. But, you also need good fuel for your body. 

Pick portable snacks on your trip. Keep it simple and easy.
Non-perishable healthy treats and fruits with skin work well. 

Now, I am not being unrealistic. I know that some trips are longer than others. When we go back home, we are looking at a 9-9.5 hour drive through rolling mountains and hills. McDonalds, Burger King, Wiendys...they pop up so available and ready. There isn't a shortage of fast food on the road, that's for sure. I have learned to work with what's available. Face it, there aren't many healthy options on the menu.

I try to go with Subway (and will sometimes buy a veggie or turkey  sub on wheat w/o any mayo or oil and wrap it up nice to store in the cooler) but if that is NOT an option in the area of travel, I lean toward grilled chicken sandwiches and ususally remove the bread. Instead of fries, I will get raw veggies or fruit if available, or just snack on one of my low cal options that I have packed. Another choice is to grab the greenest salad possible. If the fast food place offers a spinach salad and balsamic or light vinaigrette dressing, I will have that.(Caution: All salads are not safe. It will be up to you to ask what is in it and to select good options for consumption.) Where there is a will, there is indeed a way.

 When you arrive to your destination, grab a pack of premixed salad and low fat dressing. I am not saying to completely deprive yourself of the home cooking you may not often have the opportunity to eat. You can still enjoy Granny's cooking, just have small portions and pair with your salad. And remember, you can always make time for a quick brisk walk and simple calisthenics (20-30 minutes is better than zip).

Remember, keep those M& M's at the forefront. No, not the delicious chocolaty candies! LOL...I am talking about "Moderation and Movement"! You don't have to regret your choices if you are willing to do what it takes to maintain. Remember, your sucess will depend upon your level of commitment and awareness.

Even on the road, you can Make IT Work!

"Burn rubber, not your soul."- Slick Will (Biker Boyz, 2003)

~Kia © 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

When you think about time and really put it into prospective, it is a lot like water. It is so lose and fluid. Like the ocean, time is uncontainable. We can’t own it; time is unstoppable. We try to capture it in snapshots and rely upon our memories for instant replays of it. But, do we even really own our memories? For they too, begin to leave us in bits and pieces as we grow. Yet, there are some things we’ll never forget, for the tragedy and pain of them are etched not just into our minds, but they are branded into our souls.
Ten years. Ten years have passed since the tragic events of 9/11. Where were you and what were were you doing on this day back then? If you were alive and old enough on this day, you can most likely recount it as if only a day ago. I will never forget that day.
I had taken the day off from work due to being sick. The most comfortable spot for me at that time was on the floor with pillows and a pallet of blankets. I lay there, flipping through the t.v. channels. I landed on a station and thought it was a horrible movie. I flipped again...it was on that channel too. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. In the course of a few minutes, I went back and forth between NBC and CNN. I changed it back to NBC’s Today Show and suddenly, the second plane hit. I gasped.....cried…prayed for all those who I knew perished. I prayed for their loved ones and instantly grabbed the phone to begin calling mine. 

I wasn’t even there, but I felt so much pain, confusion, fear and anger that day. I recount it as a live nightmare unfolding in front of me. I can’t even begin to fathom what it must have been like and still be like for those directly affected by this. For the weeks, months, and the years to follow, our country has teetered back and forth trying to find a way back to “normalcy” while protecting our way of life, our freedom and sense of peace. 

A few months before this tragic day, I began working for a special resource center at a bank in Columbus, OH. Our office was on the 21st floor and I remember a week after 9/11 being forced to evacuate due to a mysterious, ticking package discovered in the mail room. As we scurried down the 21 flights of stairs, there was panic, there was crying.  It seemed like we were going down those steps for the longest time and every step I took was surreal.
For a split second, I thought “what if we’re next?”  Then, my thoughts shifted. I began to think about what it must have been like for those on their way down the stair wells of the Trade Center Towers. I cannot even imagine how terrifying that must have been.  Going down those steps, not knowing what exactly just happened. Knowing the whole time that you could die at any minute. Smoke billowing and filling their lungs, extreme heat from all directions…no clear path and the feeling of despair settling into their hearts….

It turned out that the unlabeled package in our building was a clock. We were grateful and called our loved ones via cell with updates. Still, everyone was on edge considering what our nation had recently gone through.

Today, the tears still well up in my eyes and stream down my face as if I am seeing it for the first time. Rest in peace to all of those lost on this tragic, heart ripping, gut wrenching day. Continued prayers for those lives so tragically and violently snatched away, for the survivors, the heroes (recognized and unsung), the families, those that were not yet born but perished along with their mothers on this day.  We will never forget as a nation. The world will never forget. God hasn’t forgotten nor has He forsaken any of us. Our nation must strive to be compassionate not just in times of tragedy, but at all times.