10.21.2014

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.
Ew.
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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10.17.2014

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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10.16.2014

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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10.15.2014

Prep Update: 7 Weeks Out

Things are moving along quite well over here.
I have ordered my bikini competition suit (insert wide eyed emoji here) from Angel Competition Bikinis, booked my tanning appointment with Tracy Nelson Tan, my makeup appointment with LaDonna Stein, booked a hotel room and paid my entry fee.
I still need to book posing classes, which I'll do in a few weeks.
PS- I will be doing a post soon on the cost of competing so be looking for that.

If that doesn't make shit real I don't know what does.
I have 7 1/2 weeks until I have to step on stage.
And to say I'm nervous is quite an understatement. I'm scared, frankly, of looking like a complete and utter idiot.
Like an outsider. Like I don't belong with the other women.
I have to keep telling myself that "comparison is the thief of joy" and STOP comparing myself to everyone else.
Of course that's easier said than done.
It's a definite mind game.
I just keep trying to take it one day at a time.
Focusing on my workouts and making the right food choices.

Lately the thing that's saving me is coffee and rotisserie chicken (not together).
God Bless America, I realize how pathetic that sounds.
I buy a whole rotisserie chicken once a week and snack on it when I want to mindlessly rummage through the fridge.
I've also been making healthy no bake "cookies".
My latest recipe is
-gluten free oats (ground up in the food processor)
-pumpkin puree
-honey
-almond butter
-pumpkin pie spice
(I don't measure, I just get a good consistency)

All mixed together, rolled into little balls and popped in the fridge.
It's super easy and keeps me from diving face first into a jar of Nutella.

My once a week cheat meal is also keeping me sane.
This week I'm planning on having homemade pizza for my cheat meal.

The one thing I'm concerned about is my stomach. Which I've heard is the absolute LAST place you see progress.
I'm happy with my progress everywhere else, but my stomach is where I hold most of my fat.
Body fat is around 17.5%.
Ideally, I'd like to get it down to 12% for the show.
It's still hard to wrap my head around, but I'm slowly etching away at that and I have no doubt I CAN.

It's eerily similar to when I was bigger and I would lay in bed at night and constantly think of what I'd look like when I reached my weight goal.
I keep trying to picture myself at 12% body fat and it's something I can't even do.
#IJUSTCCANTEVEN

What will my kangaroo pouch look like?
Look, that thing sucks, it does.
But I grow more and more proud of it every day.
To step on stage proudly sporting an overly tanned kangaroo pouch (even if I have to get that courage from a tiny vodka bottle ;P) I HOPE will give women the courage to do the things we're terrified of.

That's where the magic happens, ya know??
Outside our comfort zones.


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10.14.2014

Email Response

I received an interesting email the other day that I wanted to share with y'all.
I don't do this often, but I wanted to shed some light on a few things. 
By no means is this an invitation to send me hate mail, so please take this for what it is; me sharing my response to this email publicly.
I try my best to respond to all the emails I receive, even if they are of this nature.
I realize not everyone is going to understand or agree with my journey or my life choices, and you don't have to.
I also realize opening up myself to the public like I do invites this kind of critiquing in.

I do want to say one thing first- I'm a deleter.
WHY?
Because I try my best to surround myself with nothing but positive people. People who want to see me do better, live better and BE better.
So when the Negative Nancy's start coming out I will delete it because I'M the one that has to deal with all that. It is emotionally draining and a full time job in itself reading and responding to hate mail. 
I would rather spend my time doing something productive than engaging in negative remarks made about the way I choose to stand in a fucking picture.

Now, let's get to the email. My responses are in red.


Hey Brandi,

This is not the first email I have written you.  In fact, I emailed you well over a year ago to tell you MY story, and to tell you how inspirational you have been to me.  >From one woman to another, you were someone whom understood the tribulations AND the rewards of getting healthy, and how that changes who you are, as a person/wife/mother/friend, etc.  You were someone I could relate too.  And then slowly, but surely something changed.  Now, before I proceed, please know I would never ever bash or berate anyone, and I will not do that to you, whether it be on social media, or online forums.
I truly appreciate this, as many would just immediately begin to publicly bash me, so the fact that you are coming to me INSTEAD automatically ups my respect for you.

  I feel compelled to email you as a once avid follower turned to someone who now does not click on your page, and IF I do, am consistently saddened/taken aback by the content presented.  As a self-proclaimed public figure you ‘open’ yourself up to public opinion, and I think my opinion does matter.  Why??  Because I used to tell others to follow YOU.  I used to say I got inspiration from YOU.  I used to use YOUR links to purchase products you swore by, because I trusted your opinion, which by default put money back into your pocket. 
Today, I cannot.  This determination was made by latest IG picture of you ‘then’ (in a black and blue dress with Spanx) to you ‘now’ (in a tiny black dress without Spanx).  Is the picture a problem?!  No.  You look wonderful in BOTH.  The message is where I struggle with, and it finally came full circle for me as a reader/follower when I saw that picture.  Your message, the one I loved and respected has changed.  I understand and appreciate that different things going on, and a shift in goals WILL change a person. Certainly, I was deeply saddened (for you) to read about your divorce, in a relationship you seemed to fight so hard to keep!!  I also respect your drive to compete in a bikini competition, in which has ultimately changed what you are doing (i.e. your fitness plans).
 HOWEVER, the ‘old’ Brandi never ‘hated’ on the Brandi we all fell in love with.  
The Brandi whom endured two marvelous pregnancies, and whom fought to get healthy during and after each one.  And although you never explicitly state that you hated your old self, the words you use conveys that to your viewers.  You were once proud to be a size 12/13/14(that black and blue dress has been listed as each, for what it is worth), and even prouder when you got into even smaller sizes, but never diminished the feeling of each milestones (past and present_.  You never proclaimed when you were or were NOT wearing Spanx like you did in this last picture, because IT DID NOT MATTER.  All that mattered, in your message to us followers, was that you felt good.  That was what you wanted to convey, and that is what we heard.  

First and foremost, I did not "hate" on the old Brandi. I even stated in the comments of that picture when someone said "you actually look happy in the before picture though" that "I WAS HAPPY! I had just gotten into a size 13! I'd lost 25 lbs. and felt amazing!!"
Which, for what it's worth, WAS a size 13 (if I remember correctly).
You see, I've been through so many damn clothes through this journey that I tend to forget what piece of clothing was what size. THERE WERE SO MANY!
And after each time I lost more weight I did not keep those clothes around for a "security blanket". I got rid of them the second they became too big on me. It kept me going, not having those clothes hanging in my closet JUST IN CASE I gained weight back.
I wasn't going back there, no matter how happy I was to get there in the first place! I knew I was capable of pushing myself further. 
The fact that Spanx were mentioned has no bearing whatsoever on the actual picture and how I felt in it itself. It was simply a way to say "yeah, I was in a size 13 (12/14 WHATEVER) and I felt AMAZING, but I still had on Spanx, because that shit smooths everything out." 
And that I wasn't wearing Spanx in the current picture because I actually FEEL firm enough not to. That in itself is a milestone for me. 
That is all that refrence was, don't read too deep into it.
My message has not changed, the way you're reading it has. 

I am sure you feel like a million bucks today, and I would be lying if I said you did not look like a million bucks.  But, I would also be lying if I did not note that I feel you looked like a million bucks a year ago as well.  You seem to diminish that a lot now.  Instead of driving home a message to love yourself, love your body, love being healthy – you are driving home the following right now:  to love being skinny…only, to love being at the gym…constantly, to love looking your best…at a size 4…currently.  There seems to be an aura of disgust (or should I say arrogance) for anyone OUTSIDE of these messages, and a lot of women (in their 30’s (me)), married (me)), and child rearing (me)) can no longer relate).  IT IS THESE WOMEN THAT MADE YOU a success in the blog world. 
Case and point:  The same woman (YOU) whom preached the scale did not matter, should not matter, could not matter OR define who we are as women, is the same woman whom gave us an exact weight (AFTER MONTHS OF ‘not caring about it’) a few weeks ago.  Why would it matter now?!?!   You may think otherwise, but the very clear message to many of us (my friends and I whom follow you) was that it mattered because it was 135 lbs-ish (, making the 140’s/150’s, or higher something to ashamed of, or frowned upon, or not worthy of being proud of because those weights were NOT posted.

It truly sucks you feel this way. However, the fact that I am not relatable to you on a personal level anymore because of my current circumstances and how I'm "constantly at the gym" or "only love myself because I'm skinny" is not really my problem.
I can put out my information for you, no matter what it is, and you're going to read into that however you feel so inclined.
There is no aura of disgust or arrogance for anyone outside of these criteria at all.
I WAS OUTSIDE THESE CRITERIA FOR YEARS!
It is only until recently (deciding to get into body building) that I am no longer relatable to these certain women. Again, that's my journey and what I choose to do with my life.
With changing my goals up and constantly striving to better myself (something I completely believe is HEALTHY and GOOD) it sounds like I am not relatable to you anymore.
And that's normal and okay. Trust me, I get it. I was so far removed from this world when I first decided to enter it that I felt like an outsider looking in. I still do sometimes. But I also know that doing things that scare me shitless are how I personally change and grow. 
I hope you can find someone like minded who you can relate to. 
As far as telling my weight "after months of not caring", that is pertinent to my current goals and guidelines per my coach. 
It is a tool we use in determining my body fat percentage is decreasing and ensuring I'm on track for my show in 8 weeks. 
THAT'S why it matters now. My goals now are different than they were when I "didn't care about the number".
I even stated at the very beginning of my prep that I was not concerned with the number on the scale but only for progress purposes and that I was focusing on my body fat percentage instead. But then again, you don't read the blog, so you wouldn't have seen that.  

 I want to applaude where you are going, and your goals, but I cannot do that with your new sentiments, or how you are coming across.  Maybe your goal was to drive out followers whom USED to ‘get you’, or share in some similar life stories that you were so candid in telling, and bring in new followers, whom *seem* younger, more na├»ve, and already more fit.  If that is the case, then ignore my email, because it does not matter.  If it was not, then I think you need to understand why you have had an increase in ‘haters’ (quoted because those I am speaking on behalf of are not those that are bashing you elsewhere, but trying to be honest).
Thanks for reading…if you did read.  I wish you all the best. 

My goal has never been anything other than empowering women. Period.
However that may be.
Knowing they are capable of being happy in the body they're in, that motherhood does not mean you can't feel sexy, or that setting and reaching goals you think are borderline crazy are not out of the picture. 
I appreciate your email and the fact that you came to me in a respectful manner with your concerns.

All the best to you,
ML 

10.08.2014

Track the Tank




This tank top has already been around the US and is now currently in Texas, with me.
It's got the signatures and motivational sayings of some awesome bloggers from all over the US.
It will be given away when it finishes it's journey. 
Every one of the bloggers it's hit (or WILL hit) is on some kind of journey themselves.
As you know, I've been on one helluva fitness journey for the past 5 years.
It started here, on this little blog. With all of the women it's touched over the years I hope I've been some little beacon of hope for you. 
To let you know that ANYTHING you dream of is possible. That it's never too late to change the path you're on. And that you are stronger than you think.
All of us ladies are posting what motivates us on this journey.

I had to really sit and think about what motivates me now.
Because, truth be told, it's much different than what motivated me when I first started out.

When I first started my weight loss journey I was motivated by fashion. By LOOKING good. 
All of the cute fashion trends I couldn't fit into or that didn't look right on me because I was bigger, or maybe wasn't even made in my size motivated me. 
I bought a pair of  designer "goal jeans" in a size that was half my size at the time. 
Those jeans motivated me for a very long time. I hung them in my room so I could see them every day as I ran on my treadmill. 
After about a year on my journey, they fit me. 

Over the years I've found motivation from various sources and things. Different people, specific goals, etc.
Running a marathon motivated me.
Training for a bikini compettition motivated me (still does). 
Setting new goals and having a plan keeps me motivated.

However, the number one thing that motiavtes me these days is strength.
I love competing with myself, constantly trying to beat my numbers and break my own personal records.
It's empowering to feel strong and capable. And even stronger and more capable than last week. 
It motivates me to keep going, to see what else I can accomplish.
My health is important to me. Being strong is important to me. Just trying to be a better person (all around, not just fitness related) than I was yesterday is important to me. 
Having my boys grow up with a mom who takes care of herself and instills healthy habits is important to me. 
They all motivate me. 

At first it was purely vanity. I truly believe that's how most of us start out. You want to change your life, lose weight, etc. because you want to LOOK good.
And that's okay. It works! 
But soon you'll begin to need other sources of motivation. That's the hard part, finding what does it for you. 
It's all part of the journey.

You can track the tank on Instagram with #trackthetank and find some other inspirational ladies there as well!

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