The Evolution of My Journey

Five years ago it took all I had to break my fast food addiction.
When I decided to make a change, that's the first place I started. No fast food for 3 months straight.
It was hard, but I did it.
I began tracking my food and writing down everything I put in my mouth.
Once I felt like I had a handle on my new way of eating, I started to research exercise programs I could do at home because I couldn't afford a gym membership and I had a newborn I didn't want to leave. And to be totally honest, even if I COULD HAVE afforded a gym membership at that time, I wouldn't have gone because of how self conscious I was about my body.

I found the Couch to 5k running program and bought a pair of tennis shoes and a treadmill with some Christmas money I'd gotten.
I was 200 lbs. and in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM ready to start running.
So I started slowly. By walking if I needed to, jogging (VERY SLOWLY) when I could, and repeating that 5 days a week.
I got home from work everyday and put my 3 month old in his bouncy seat in front of my treadmill and did what I could for 30 minutes a day.

That's all I could do at that point.
I never thought about building muscle, I never thought about wearing a bikini, I just wanted to wear a smaller pair of jeans. That's it.

It took me years to wrap my head around the things I never thought I'd ever be capable of doing.
Like running 5ks, half marathons, and eventually a marathon in the fall of 2013.

All I thought about was being "skinny".
I never thought about what my body would ACTUALLY look like when I got there.
I just wanted to wear that size 8.

But with each new goal achieved I began to think "well if I can do THAT, what ELSE can I do?"

I remember last year a friend of mine was doing a bikini competition and I distinctly told her "there is NO WAY I'd be able to do that girl! I love my Reeses too much."

It was not even a thought in my mind that I possibly COULD do that. It was so far removed from my way of thinking that I didn't even entertain the idea.
And slowly, something changed. I began to see what I was capable of, and I decided to take the leap and do something that scared me.

I have talked about all this before, but I haven't touched on what all it takes to get to a point like this.
Years. It's taken me years to get to this point. Years of doing what I could when I could, then doing something else when I could.
My mindset has shifted in ways I can't even fathom. My way of life now is completely different than it was back then.
I didn't just wake up one day and decide to compete. It took a long time to get here. And I'm not even close to being done. I don't think I'll ever be "done."

Sure, I got comfortable for awhile with a lifestyle of drinking on the weekends, crap food in moderation and then busting my ass during the week to correct the damage I'd done. Repeat until tired.
Many people get complacent here. And that's okay. Not everyone has the desire to go any further than "maintenance".
I got comfortable in maintenance until I started thinking "I wonder what's beyond this? I wonder what I could REALLY do if I put my mind to it..."

You see, this is a journey. You may stumble and fall, or even just stall.
If you are to a point of maintenance and getting tired of it, I urge you to dig deep and push the limits a bit further. See what you are capable of.
The things you think are out of your reach are often the most rewarding to accomplish.

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My Weekly Grocery List for Prep

I thought I'd share with y'all what my weekly grocery list looks like while I'm prepping for my competition.
Yes, my diet is strict. Yes, I want to throw all the Oreos and ice cream in my basket, but that's not going to get me any closer to my goal.
And I just keep telling myself "it's just temporary".
A little trick I've learned while grocery shopping to help with cravings is anytime I see something I want to throw in my basket (like ice cream, cookies, and anything Reeses) I take out my phone and put it on my "wish list".
It's a list of things I am "planning to eat" after my competition.
And honestly, I won't eat all of the things on that list... it just helps write it down instead of throwing it in my cart.
It's all mental y'all.

Here's my weekly grocery list:

-rotisserie chicken
-fresh green beans
-hard boiled eggs (pre bagged because I'm lazy and have yet to conquer the perfect hard boiled egg)
-Community coffee Breakfast blend K cups
-unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
-Laura's lean ground beef (96/4)
-frozen broccoli
-case of bottled water
-Quaker caramel corn rice cakes
-Maranatha almond butter
-Uncle Ben's Jasmine Ready Rice
-Quaker rolled oats
-strawberries, or "strawbabies" (as Mushy says)
-grapes (my saving grace when my sweet tooth hits)
-blackberries or "blackbabies" (again, Mushy's word, which gets me multiple side eyes when we're at the store and he yells out "Mommy! I want black babies!")
-cherry tomatoes
-hot sauce
-Strawberry Nutrigrain bars (post workout carb)
-Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
-sweet potatoes
-Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut Almonds
-Spray coconut oil (for cooking)
-Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread
-Lemon pepper
-Egg whites

This is just a general idea of what I am currently eating. Most of this stuff I can get at Target.

What's on your weekly grocery list?

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Ebola and Bikinis

This past week has been a whirlwind.
I am feeling VERY weak lately. My lifts are suffering. Everything feels extremely heavy.
I know it's because I'm dieting down and I've never been this far into a diet plan before.
I've been "dieting" for 10 weeks now. And I've still got 6 left.
It gets tiring and mentally exhausting. I am still having my one cheat meal a week, so that's helping.
Despite my weakness, I've been showing up every day and getting in my workouts.
I came down with the ebola yesterday and laid in bed ALL DAY LONG.
With the exception of going to get my hamstrings stripped. Holy hell. My legs are bruised like crazy.
It's pretty gnarly looking.

ps- I was joking about the ebola. Is that fair game yet?

A few things have happened this week.

1. I got my competition suit in from Angel Competition Bikinis.
It's so pretty and sparkly and TINY!
This was a huge deal to me.
Mostly because I never even thought I'd wear a bikini again, much less a competition suit.
I was blown away by how beautiful it was, and how great I felt in it!
I do still have some work to do.
My biggest issue right now is the fat I'm holding around my hips. They have definitely shrunk a shitton in the past few months, but I do still tend to be a bit "meatier" there. Is that a word?
I just made it one.
I'm currently sitting at 16.5% body fat.
This is the leanest I've ever been in my life.
The suit comes up high enough in the front that I won't be worried about my kangaroo pouch. Plus, I'll be leaner by then, so it will shrink anyway.
Ahhh the things us moms have to worry about. ;P

Can I be franks and beans with y'all??
The scrunch butt in the back makes my ass look preeeetttyyyy nice.
I don't have the most awesome glutes (why did autocorrect want to change that to 'flutes' a million times just now??), but it looks pretty on point in those bottoms.
And I'm working on bringing up dat ass.

And if I were Schmidt, this is where I'd put $5 into the douchebag jar.

2. I went to a costume spin class at my gym this weekend.
top from Spirit Halloween store
3. The boys dressed up as "minja turtles", as Mushy says.
I may be biased, but I think they're the cutest little minja turtles ever.

4. I scheduled my first posing class this Friday with IFBB bikini pro and two time Olympian, Tawna Eubanks.
Add this to the list of things I'm terrified to do.

Things are moving right along and I'm gearing up for the North Texas Fit Expo, where I will hopefully not embarrass the living shit out of myself. ;P
A few of y'all have asked for info on the show. Here ya go! I'd love to see y'all there!

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It's All Relative

That's my favorite saying.
Why? Because IT REALLY IS all relative.
You know when someone who's obviously thin says "I feel fat" and you're like majorly giving the the side eye like you want to slap the stupid right off their face hole?

I feel like that lately.
Like I have no reason to be bitching about about the things I want to bitch about.
Like people are looking at me like I have a 3rd eye when I say "I feel so bloated and gross."
Case and point: I was expressing my frustrations to my trainer the other day about how I feel just blah and fat and fluffy, and he goes "you are the equivalent of a barbell and two big plates. shut up."
Point taken.
(and maybe he said it in a nicer way, but basically that's what I heard)
The fact is that I go through mental highs and lows on this journey like I never have before.
I know that a few things will sway my moods one way or another. I'm going through a pretty rough time currently, I have two small kids (enough to make you want to yank your hair out any day. God love them), it's my TOM (which always makes me feel blah and fluffy), and my cravings for all the shit food are at an all time high.
So I pouted yesterday. During my workout.
Like a little bitch.
I don't do that. 
I don't let the negative get to me like that. 
But I did. I had a bad day and I wanted to walk out of the gym throwing up multiple middle fingers to everyone and anyone that would look.
I stated from the beginning that I wasn't going to bitch about how hard this was.
Because no one's MAKING me do this. No one's MAKING me train for a competition.
I did it to myself. I'll take a big helping of "WOMAN UP, YOU PANSY!"

But I do want to share my feelings throughout this. Just for documentation purposes and for anyone who decides to take this path I've chosen. 
It's not easy. 
It's mentally exhausting.
It's more taxing than you'll ever realize until you're in the throws of it.
I'm just hoping that the end result is one I can look at and say 
"that shit was brutal, but damn, it was worth it!

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Breaking my Fast Food Addiction

"I'm hungry. Dinner won't be for 3 more hours, I'll just get a snack."

Those are the words I would tell myself as I was driving home from work everyday when I would be approaching the Taco Bell/McDonalds/Wendy's that I'd pass by the house.

It's all I thought about. Fast food.
I would pull into the drive thru and get a 7 layer burrito, a baja chicken chalupa and a large Pepsi.
I'd eat it all, in the 3 minutes before pulling into my driveway.
Because I knew Sean would be home and I didn't want to eat it in front of him.... because dinner was in a few hours and I'd be eating that too.
I didn't want the judgement.
So I ate in secret. And hid the wrappers.

That's a problem people. If you are hiding wrappers or eating in secret so you don't get "judged", that is a sign you are addicted to food.

I never thought I had a problem, until I changed my relationship with food.
That's when I realized all my UNHEALTHY habits.

I could have told you where every fast food restaurant was and what ones I was going to pass by on my way to anything.
I would simply eat because it was "on the way". Not out of huger, not because I was in a hurry. Because I was addicted to the feeling I'd get after eating it.
That immediate high while the food was being forced in my pie hole at record speeds.

But immediately after that came the crash. The lowest of the low feeling. The realization of what I'd just done, then the sadness and disappointment in myself.
Repeat for years until I finally decided to change (after having my first son in 2009).

I broke my fast food addiction cold turkey.
It took everything I had not to pull into the drive thru on the way home after I decided it was time to change.
I had to force myself to look straight, not look at the signs and just keep driving.
After 3 months of no fast food it didn't bother me anymore.
I could pass every fast food joint without wanting to involuntarily jerk the wheel into the drive thru.

I can drive all over the place now and never think once about what fast food place is by me or "on the way". I don't look at the signs or even notice they are there anymore.
I noticed my absence of noticing the other day when I passed the Taco Bell I used to frequent often. I happened to look and see that it had been remodeled.
And not recently. Like years ago remodeled.
And it was then that I'd realized how my focus has shifted since then. Tenfold.
It didn't happen overnight.
It wasn't a sudden change of mind and it was done. It took discipline.
But once I got a taste of how being healthy made me FEEL, i.e., no remorse or bloating, I was hooked. It was better than the taste of crappy fast food and all the guilt that came with it.
And that was worth it enough for me to change.

Have you ever had an addiction to food? How did you break it?

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The Boob Chica

I have such an amazing story to share with y'all today.
I LOVE laughing. It is my most favorite thing and I truly believe nearly everything can be cured with a sense of humor.
What I love even more is people who have a sense of humor despite tough life circumstances.
The people who continue to be positive and and can laugh through hard times.
It says so much about their character to not let things get to them. THOSE are the type of people I want to be around.
The ones that say "yeah, that's shitty, but let's laugh about it!"

Meet Vivian.

"I found a lump in my right boob 4 days shy of our 6 month wedding anniversary. I'm really bad at anniversaries, I only remember it because it was Javi's birthday weekend. When you are a 34F (all natural bitches, don't hate) you don't do self breast exams, you have relations and down right accost your chi chi's...as in squeezing them like a masochist into bras, tops, and dresses. With the constant sucking in, clutching, taping, and barely breathing I've gotten to know Bill and Ted on a personal level...I mean we're friggin related. So as I felt myself up in the shower that morning, I knew something was up. I awoke the hubby, annoyed, thinking I was a psycho, but after some forced foreplay (which he really didn't enjoy lol) he felt it too.

ENTER freak out

Go to work....KYM feel my boob, Alyson feel my boob....they felt it. Call the Dr urgently "SOCCCCOOOORRROOOOOOO" I felt a lump, yes I am two weeks out from my period....oh you mean that's normal? Call back after my cycle...ok. Phew, I over reacted, I tend to do that! Two weeks later, still a lump, call him, can you come in on Tuesday, HELL TO THE YES! I'm here. Ahhhhh Dr. Monier, so calm, so cute, and yes I will show you where the lump is. He feels it, like a peanut or small grape (depending on whether you like those genetically altered mega grapes or not. So me, like a psycho, ask him to aspirate that mofo. I'm a doctors dream, he obliged...nothing came out. SHIT. I thought SHIT SHIT SHIT. He says "no worries that doesn't mean anything, could be fatty." He refers me to radiology. Ugh do you realize you just called me fat? He laughs...got humor for days!

Enter Solis Mammography, super nice ladies! Just went for an ultrasound aspirated blah blah blah except for, that MOFO WAS SOLID. Ugh damn, kept getting worse! Got a mammo, some squeezing, but nothing I haven't experienced after a night of a lot of crown and seven if ya know what I mean! Then I see it, that grape/peanut staring at me in the face as my radiologist says I'm going to need a core biopsy to rule out cancer. UGGGGHHHHHHH for real? I've already canceled like two Tuesday afternoon tutoring and now this!? I walked out, lied to my mom that things were fine and went home to talk to my hubby about what was REALLY going on.

Back two days later for a core biopsy.....needle through the peanut, ouch, snip, click, snip, click, marker left, y ya! Instant melt down.....INSTANT! Not in the office (of course, mama didn't raise no sissy), but when I got home it was awful! It wasn't right how I could only have Tylenol and PS stress lead to my period coming SUPER SUPER EARLY.

So....it's cancer. Yes. Cancer.

 Hard to believe I wrote that almost a year ago. In that time I've gone through 6 dense 4 drug chemo cocktails, 10 of 12 immunotherapy infusions (I call it diet chemo because it robs me of all my energy), gained almost 50 pounds because of chemotherapy, was involved in a motor vehicle accident that most likely has left me in physical therapy for the rest of my life, lost the 50 pounds I gained because of chemo, a blood clot in my lung that almost killed me, and reconstructive surgery...but who's counting. I found my cancer myself through a self breast exam, and while no one really thinks that young girls get breast cancer, the fact of the mater is that we do. I wasn't the youngest "breastie" in the infusion room at Texas Oncology, and that's something that is quite scary for other young women out there. I am a third generation "Boob Chica,"my grandmother lost her battle, but my mother and I won the war. Cancer is debilitating. Drugs that cause excruciating bone pain, chemotherapy that literally burns you from the inside out from both ends (ahhhh, not my finest hour), and gallons upon gallons of vomit. Nothing says welcome to marriage like your husband finding out that you didn't make it to the toilet at 4:00 in the morning! Through it all I never lost my sense of humor. My friends would call me the chemo room comedian. Whether it was laughing at myself when I was down to two lashes and looking a lot like Plankton from Sponge Bob, passing out snacks and "popping bottles" in the chemo room, or having chemo waddle races with my husband I never took things too seriously. See in the chemo room there are a lot of champions, but as with anything even champions fall, and with the loss of countless other women I learned that life is precious, life is fragile, life is short. As you are inundated this "Pinktober" with ribbons and shades of pink I urge you to become accountable for your health and that of your relatives. So many have asked me, "What can I do?" I always respond with "Get a mammogram. Find out if you have dense breasts. Remember to examine your breasts monthly. Eat healthy foods. Exercise." Dallas county has one of the highest breast cancer mortality rates in the country and it is because we stress races over mammograms, pink ribbons over people, and breasts over women. I am more than a race, more than a color, more than a ribbon, and definitely more than my boobs...even though they were fabulous! If you feel compelled to donate make it count! Donate mammograms, volunteer in the chemo room, or write notes to those that are fighting because there are so many that in their darkest hours lose the willingness to soldier on. I had an army behind me, but there are so many that go at this alone. Strength came from my family, friends, fur babies, and church. Faith Wears Pink is a nonprofit organization focuses on saving the women, not the boobs. It has helped unite DFW breasts so that no one has to fight alone. 

I went back to work this fall, and while every day is a struggle, I try to maintain a sense of normalcy and continue with my sense of humor through the fatigue. I am grateful to be alive and cancer free. Shit happens to us all, but it's how we handle our shit that makes our individual stories so beautiful. I'm just some girl that got breast cancer at 30 and beat it the week after her 31st birthday who wants to let you know that my story could be your story if you aren't vigilant, and I don't want that for you. Know your history and fight to get those mammograms. For those of you that are fighting my prayers are with you. May the words of Maya Angelou inspire you:

Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” 

Before and after. Left: right after my last chemo waddling my way to the Mavs game. Right: Three months later

first chemo with my biggest supporter

first chemo! cold caps saved the majority of my hair

last dense chemo. yes i had a party!

3 hours after my double mastectomy

Hospital room stripper fun after a bloodclot in my lung. The person in the next room kept complaining that we were too loud!

my implant!

Working out is a must! It's been hard not having all my strength back but I'm gonna grind until I shine!

chemo bathroom selfie
getting wiggy with it
It's hard to believe that 7 months after this day I was diagnosed with cancer. That's that bullshit, but we made it through. I truly appreciate my hubby for being my rock and proving to the world that he truly meant "in sickness and in health.""

I told y'all she was awesome!

Breast cancer is very near and dear to my heart. My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor before she passed last year and I've known several women affected by breast cancer.
It's Breast Cancer Awareness month ladies! Get your mammograms or do a self examination! Or hell, have your man (or woman) do it for you!
It could mean all the difference in the world. 

You can follow @THE_BOOB_CHICA on Instagram to follow her story

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