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“Y” and “Z” the end of #atozchallenge

Hello peeps! We’ve reached Ye Zenith (see what I did there?) 😀

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Ye Zenith
“Ye” is really really old English for “the”

And here we are at the end of the A to Z Challenge. If I had to give myself a grade I’d give myself a solid B. I actually deserve a C for how many times I dropped the ball but I’m giving myself extra points for creatively getting back on schedule. That counts too right?

So what does it mean to reach Ye Zenith? Ye zenith is a high point. We tend to predict our zeniths in life as our wedding day, a promotion, the birth of a child, graduation, reaching a particular goal, etc. But sometimes in focusing too much on the future we miss the everyday things that makes life worth living so I ask that you try to identify your every day zeniths. What was the high point of today?

For me, I reached a zenith today at lunch when I made this great lentil soup (sans celery and grains of paradise) that was just marvelous. I am not a lentil person so whenever I make food with an ingredient that is not my favorite and yet I love the taste, I  celebrate that. How will I celebrate? I’m heading to the gym for a 45-minutes spinning class. Maybe I’ll reach another zenith there.

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Looking forward to A to Z 2016
Goodbye April

Top 5 posts during A to Z Challenge (thanks for the love peeps):

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“W” is for Weekly Words of Wisdom

Hello peeps! We’re back on schedule. YAY!

When I started this blog I intended to post regularly but quickly learned that life would get in the way so I decided that I would at least make an effort to write a digest post every week and so was Sunday Summary born, a weekly post that most times serves as a weekly digest and sometimes allows me to highlight something important that happened or that I learned during that week.

Whichever the case I like to end the week on a high note and always share a quote, book passage, or some motivational words that I hope you’ll like and that usually become my mantra for the following week.

Since the start of this blog (March 2014), I’ve written 52 Sunday Summaries and therefore shared 52 weekly words of wisdom. I can’t really share them all but here’s a sample.

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Happy Motivation Monday. 🙂

“Q” is for Questions

QEver wonder if you are doing life wrong? I am currently in a transitional state, not quite clear about what will be next; a sort of mid-life crisis. As I await for some projects to take form I wonder if I am on the right track or making the biggest mistake of my life. The problem is that there is really no way to know. As Steve Jobs famously said…

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

I recently came across this article, 30 Thought-Provoking Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day. I invite you try to answer them for yourself as I take on each question:

1. Who am I really? I am a woman, a daughter, a relative, a friend. I am curious, skeptical, intelligent, knowledgable. I am single, adventurous, adaptable, and always searching. An eternal teacher and student. An investigator and a writer.

2. What worries me most about the future? That we will not learn from our mistakes and therefore we are bound to repeat them.

3. If this were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? Probably not. I would fly back to Venezuela and spend that day with my family and childhood friends.

4. What am I really scared of? Never establishing roots.

5. Am I holding on to something I need to let go of? I hope not. I try not to hold on to things that are out of my control or in the past.

6. If not now, then when? If only it were that easy. If possible, now… always now.

7. What matters most in my life? That I am happy and have no regrets, and that I can somewhat contribute to the happiness of people around me.

8. What am I doing about the things that matter most in my life? Unfortunately I have to accept that regardless of what I do I cannot make everyone happy, but I can make myself happy. I’m learning.

9. What do I matter? In the great scale of things not that much but being here is awesome so I’ll try to make the best of it for myself and those around me.

10. Have I done anything lately worth remembering? Nothing earth-shattering I believe. I can’t answer this now. Years from now… who knows what will be worth remembering.

11. Have I made someone smile today? I did… and laugh out loud too. Mission accomplished. 😀

12. What have I given up on? Having children of my own.

13. When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone? In general I push the boundaries quite often but mostly to accommodate others not myself. My comfort zone is very roomy though.

14. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give? Don’t doubt yourself… let others do it but if you must err in the assessment of your own capabilities, let it be on the side of overconfidence but accompany this overconfidence with a thirst for knowledge.

15. What small act of kindness was I once shown that I will never forget? There have been many… from friends giving me long rides to someone saving me 25 cents at the supermarket.

16. How shall I live, knowing I will die? Fully.

17. What do I need to change about myself? My self-doubt.

18. Is it more important to love or be loved? To love.

19. How many of my friends would I trust with my life? Mmmmm… about 10 who are carefully located in different parts of the world. 😆

20. Who has had the greatest impact on my life? My mother.

21. Would I break the law to save a loved one? Absolutely.

22. Would I steal to feed a starving child? Yes.

23. What do I want most in life? To be happy.

24. What is life calling of me? To make a move.

25. Which is worse: failing or never trying? Never trying.

26. If I try to fail, and succeed, which have I done? Succeeded.

27. What’s the one thing I’d like others to remember about me at the end of my life? That I was there when they needed me and that I made them laugh.

28. Does it really matter what others think about me? Not more than what I think about myself.

29. To what degree have I actually controlled the course my life has taken? At times I’ve been in full control but lately I’ve been on autopilot for too long.

30. When it’s all said and done, will I have said more than I’ve done? Sheesh! I hope not.

I am not sure that I will be asking myself these question every day but perhaps every few months would probably make a good exercise. How did you do?

“N” is for Now

NAt the start of the A to Z Challenge, I posted “B” is for Before where I wrote about where I was before I began my weight loss journey. Here’s where I am now:

Now I am no longer pre-diabetic. Although my cholesterol levels continue to rise above normal every now and then, it’s not as alarming and I now know that I can keep it under control by eating well and exercising regularly. I don’t have to depends on the meds anymore. I am not depressed. I still have some moments of not feeling too well but overall I can say that I am happy and again looking forward to and excited for new things to come.

Weight-wise I am not where I want to be but much closer. I am now (as of this morning) at 172 lbs. My trip to Washington DC didn’t do as much damage as I thought. Since the beginning of my journey (20 months ago) I have reached a net loss of 53.4 lbs. I would love to lose 50 more.

This is now:

  1. BMI > 30 – I’m obese, but not super-obese, and that small change has added years to my life.
  2. I’m happier
  3. I sleep around 6-8 hours every night and according to fitbit my sleep is 94% effective.
  4. I workout in average 8-10 hours a week. My lowest week has been 5 hours, my best week, 13.
  5. My diet is much more varied with lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. I’ve fallen in love again with cooking and enjoy making healthy meals.

This is now:

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I no longer feel insecure about taking pictures… well, I do… a little… but not so much anymore. Overall, I feel happier with whom I am but I realize that it’s not so much because I lost weight. Weight loss has been a side effect of my treating myself better. In fact, I haven’t lost much weight in the last year and yet it’s been a much happier year than I had had in a long time. Perhaps with less academic and professional achievements but with greater life ones.

I wanted to end with something snappy but Jessica Kane from Life and Style of Jessica recently put it in better words:

“Eff the critics babygirl, and eff anyone else’s version of beauty if it forces you to deny embracing moments like these..live your life NOW.”

Sunday Summary: Valentine’s Day Edition

Hello peeps! I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Whether you spent quality time with your significant other, baked something yummy with the little ones, had a fun “friends-only” event, or simply enjoyed the solitude, I trust that it was a good Saturday. Mine was probably the most eventful Valentine’s Day in recent memory.

I did really well on the Cupid’s Chase 5K run (which was a little over 5K) and my time was even better than before and no cramps. Fabulous!

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I then headed to Carrabba’s or a fun lunch and gift game with my book club pals. I had their house salad with italian vinaigrette on the side and their amazing Tag Pic Pac pasta with chicken. Please don’t judge me. 😀 – Oh! and about the game… I received a beautiful pink wristlet wallet.

Screen shot 2011-05-18 at 2.03.15 PMFinally, in a spur of the moment I agreed to watch Fifty Shades of Grey. I hope that everyone gets that this is a terrible example of what a positive relationship is while simultaneously placing healthy people who happen to enjoy S&M under a bad light. This is a terrible story… that said… I can’t deny that I enjoyed watching it with friends. I had several thoughts as I watched it but I think Buzzfeed did a better job so please do yourself a favor and read this after you watch the movie or now if you have no intention of watching it. Hilarious… and oh so true.

So… I can’t complain. I had a great time.

This week I also met with a trainer at my local Y and got signed into MobileFit. I have a new weights program that I will start tomorrow and do three times a week, and a nutrition program that is aimed at helping me lose weight while keeping my cholesterol on check. This should be good.

Overall, again I overindulged with the snacks which probably shows that I have been under-eating at mealtime. My new meal plan sounds like a lot right now so I am guessing I was probably not eating enough which is why I was over-snacking and ultimately not losing any weight. I exercised about eight hours this week, including the run, which is great. I am really excited to start a new regimen and see what happens.

Weekly Words of Wisdom

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As always… thanks for stopping by. 😀

Sunday Summary: Planning Ahead

Well… here we are, the first Sunday of the year. Tomorrow life goes back to normal: back to the schedules, appointments, and structure. I’m actually looking forward to it. Tomorrow I weigh-in and assess the situation. Tomorrow I stick to the program and hopefully continue to make progress on my weight loss journey and start taking steps towards fulfilling this year’s resolutions. That’s the plan, anyway.

These first four days of the year have been pretty great. I had Chinese food as my New Year’s Meal and got some great fortune cookie wisdom: “Compassion is a way of being.” On the second, I finished a beautiful puzzle that I can’t wait to frame, had a super healthy lunch at Earth Fare and then a not-so-healthy dessert at McDonalds: Apple pie. Then I did blacklight zumba with one of my favorite instructors. We took this picture after (we were glistening).

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Yesterday was my absolute favorite. My uncle (dad’s brother), aunt, and cousin were in the US on vacation from Venezuela and my mom and I met with them in Atlanta. It was a very short visit but it reminded me of how no amount of distance or time can diminish true love. I hadn’t seen my uncle for eight years, and my aunt and cousin for even longer (I have never been so grateful for social media). My mom hadn’t seen them for about 15 years. We will definitely need to repeat this. Check out my beautiful family… my mom kind of got lost behind me.

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Today, I am finishing the first week of the year strong with a strong breakfast of arepa with chicken, and orange/carrot/ginger juice. Lunch was lentil soup and grilled chicken. I already got my workout in with an afternoon zumba session. For a snack I am having some chocolate. Dinner will be fruit, nuts, and tea.

Tomorrow is a new day, of a new week, of this new year. Let’s make good choices. 😀

Weekly Words of Wisdom

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Thanks for visiting!

The Best of 2014

Well… here we are, December 31st 2014. It’s been a really interesting year for sure and I hope I have set the stage to an even more interesting year. Let’s review:

2014 RESOLUTIONS CHECK

1. Start a New Adventure: I started a few different projects this year but my biggest adventure was this blog. This little blog has opened doors I didn’t know were there. I find that my writing has improved, my social network has grown, and new opportunities have arisen. All good things.

BEST POST IN 2014: Year One: The Weight Loss Chronicles

2. Arrive at Goal Weight: What is “goal weight”? I know a lot of people don’t like the BMI statistic but I find it a good number to start with. I don’t believe it is a specially important number nor does it say a lot when considered alone. But, it’s a good number to start and along with eating well and moving more, a healthy BMI is something I am striving for. On January 1st 2014 I weighed-in at 188 lbs., today I weighed-in at 166 (I’ve been eating out a lot). At 5’1”, my BMI is 31.4 which keeps me in the obese category (will I ever escape?). However, in 2014 I managed to lose 22 lbs. and I am super proud of that.

BEST TRANSFORMATION PICTURE 2014: From size 18 to 10

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3. Zumba Everyday: This was a really silly resolution. In reality doing zumba everyday is not going to help me lose weight. I have learned that I have to diversify my workouts and so I have. I mostly did zumba this year but I also took weight training classes, barre, and yoga; I also did some running, took nature walks, and got on the elliptical; every so often I took a kettlebell class or went for a swim.

BEST NEW WORKOUT IN 2014: Barre

4. Eat with a Purpose: Another silly resolution. I consider this one accomplished. I pretty much recorded everything I ate all year, missing only a handful of days. I planned ahead when I ate out and learned from all the bad decisions. I am much more aware of what I eat and keep learning more every day.

BEST CHEAT MEAL 2014: Buttermilk Chicken Fried Burger at Porterhouse Grill in Athens. GA.  

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5. Run a Half Marathon: What was I thinking! 😆 This year I completed the Couch to 5K program and ran my first official 5K. I also did a 10K MudRun and completed most of the 36 obstacles. That was amazing! Half marathon? Maybe someday.

BEST RACE 2014: Ultimate Challenge Mud Run

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6. Read More: Initially I wanted to try and read one book a week. I fell way short but I still managed to read more books than I did in 2013. I read 20 books total this year and learned quite a bit. My favorite book reconnected me with my roots and sparked my interest in history.

BEST READ 2014: Bolivar: American Liberator by Marie Arana (my review)

7. Pay off Credit Cards: I managed to pay off one of the two. I am looking forward to paying off my second credit card and destroying it too. No more credit cards for me for a while. This year as I change sizes I’ve become a thrift store regular and I love it. It’s more like treasure hunting and less like shopping which I find a little too much sometimes.

BEST SHOPPING SPREE 2014: $20 Brown Bag Sale

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8. Travel More: This year I have been the most financially challenged I have been in a while. I’ve gotten incredibly creative and when better times come I know I’ll make much better use of the extra cash. I still managed to make a few trips including Washington DC., Athens and Atlanta, GA., Williamsburg, VA., and Savannah, GA.

BEST TRIP 2014: Fitbloggin in Savannah, GA. 

9. Make New Friends: My recently-developed introversion and moving to a new town made it difficult to make new friends but I have managed some. I joined a wonderful Book Club, developed some friendships at the gym, and let my online social network grow.

BEST NEW FRIEND 2014: Come’on ALL OF THEM of course 😀

10. Volunteer: I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t really made much progress on this resolution. Although I did some volunteer work here and there and was able to make some donations and participate in a few charitable activities I haven’t really committed as I wanted to. A few months back I attended an interest meeting during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week and I realized that this is what I want to get involved with. Hopefully I will find a group I can work with.

Overall, it’s been a very productive year. I feel I was able to accomplish most of the goals I set out or at least I got them started. Check back tomorrow for my 2015 Resolutions list.

 As we prepare to say goodbye to 2014

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Be safe.

How did you do with your resolutions? Preparing any for 2015? Comment away.