Fit Latina in the Making: Will He Vote?!

It’s November 1st ya’ll and that means my time is up.

Last August, I was bamboozled in to making a bet I refused to lose.  If I reached a weight-loss goal of 42 pounds, my trainer extraordinaire, Ray Peleckas, would cast his first official vote of ANY election. Civic responsibility is not something I take lightly, and I vowed to work my ass off to win.

When I first started this journey, the win was my pure motivation. I don’t think I’m a super competitive person, but this prize was far too important to me. It fueled me, and I think Ray knew exactly what he was doing when he came up with this plan.  However, I don’t know if he truly knew just how much it truly motivated me beyond the actual fitness progress I was experiencing.

Because let me be honest….I have spent most of my life as the overweight girl. I had learned to accept my body in whatever shape or size it was most of the time, and I never imagined being able to do what I have now done. Just look at the visual transformation from last November to right now?!  My clothes don’t fit anymore, and I can now see why!

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What a difference a year makes!

I’ve learned to eat in a way that doesn’t starve or deprive me of anything. Sure, I might be eating less of some things in general, but I haven’t permanently eliminated a single thing. I’ve managed to fully comprehend what affects my weight-loss targets and trained my body to gain satisfaction from healthier sweet options when I’m craving a special treat.

And I’ve become a bit fearless about working out.

Some workouts are still brutal and some exercises are still super hard, but I give things a shot and modify when necessary. I’ve seen that consistent movement and a gradual push of my limits has lead to progress. I mean, come on…I can do an actual burpee now!  I still hate working out in general, but it’s now just a part of my daily routine.

So am I proud?  Fuck yes!

Am I done?  I wish!

I’m down 42 pounds (which was more than I wanted to reach for my 40th), but why stop there?

My new target will be to try and lose 60 pounds by January 9th.

There is no crazy bet this time (yet) and I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t quite reach it, but I’m going to try my hardest to get there! This Chicago foodie will need to enjoy Thanksgiving and Navidad with her family which equals Tamales and Pozole will be eaten. So I’ll have to be careful up to and around the holidays and treat my family time as cheat days.

Because if you’ve eaten my mom’s food, then you know they NEED TO BE CHEAT DAYS!

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The annual holiday tamalada awaits me!

So there you have it…Ray will have to vote this election. I honestly think he would have voted regardless of me reaching my targets because he knows I’ve worked really hard, but it has to feel good to know that this crazy bet worked.

I didn’t have a similar bet with all of you reading this blog, but I do hope you’ll exercise your right as Americans to cast a vote next Tuesday. This is the very foundation on which this country was founded and many groups have fought so that people like me….a woman..a Latina…a daughter of Mexican immigrants…could have the right to vote.

I have voted in every single election (except one because I woke up with the flu) since I was 18. I don’t just preach civic responsibility…I am fully engaged.  Please join me and vote!

 

Fit Latina in the Making: How I Now Cope with Stress

If you’ve been following my blog (or know me personally), you know I’m not a person who let’s stress take over their emotions often. However, I’m human and some situations can sometimes make me forget how to manage the emotions best because the universe can suck and really hand you some curveballs.

I have consciously made a decision to work in a field where my job is to help provide comfort and care to families of medically fragile children. Thankfully, most of my days are filled with happiness and celebrations for the milestones achieved by the incredible medical team that is taking care of these very special families. But there are days that are awful, days that are sad and days that can make you very mad at the universe. It’s a part of what I do, and I’ve learned to manage those days well.

However, nothing can really prepare you for hearing the news that the person who is sick is someone who you care about and I had a weekend the other day where I received the news that it wasn’t just one person but it was three devastating diagnoses. I found my anger building slowly all weekend.  It conjured up a lot of emotions and memories of a friend who lost her battle to this disease 2 years ago. How I chose to deal with that surge of sadness and anger surprised me.

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As most people probably do, I would often turn to a source of comfort to try and lessen the sting. This would often translate in to a tasty dessert, a crazy delicious but not healthy meal or an alcoholic beverage. But I didn’t want any of these this time around. I was mad and knew that if I went my normal route, I would be even more pissed that I had also affected my weight loss progress.

So I turned to my favorite hobby. I walked around my house looking for a craft project I could complete. This is no small fete in the craft wasteland of my second bedroom. I have LOADS of supplies and several unfinished projects. Each would take too much time and I just needed to shake this off.

I knew that I had a workout to complete on my own, so I reached out to Ray to find out what he wanted me to work on. You can imagine my frustration when he said he was giving me the night off to rest my joints! I mean it was almost comical that I found myself upset that I didn’t even have a workout to do. I needed something else to be pissed about, and I realized I wanted that to be some sort of evil exercise.

So I took matters in to my own hands and I got on the treadmill. While it made me sweat, it didn’t help me shake off the emotional baggage so I did something I never thought I would do on my own….BURPEES!

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I made myself do 1, then 2, then 3….until I reached 15. I was pissed as I got down on the floor each time and eventually just started to channel my anger on completing the number I had set in my head. I used my frustration to power me through my most hated exercise and it felt good. When I finished the 15, I had to take some time to catch my breath and then I realized what I had just done.

All I could do was giggle because the whole thing was so ludicrous but yet so right. I have three women in my life who are fighting for their lives, so it’s only fair that I do the same and not take for granted that I have an opportunity here to give myself the best chance at a long life. My few minutes of discomfort will never compare to their journey but it finally let me shake off the rut I had found myself in so that I could instead focus on how I wanted to support them.

At the end of the day, my anger was stupid. I won’t negate that I have a right to feel angry or sad but their battle is not about me, and I will not be a good source of comfort to them if I let my emotions make me feel like the universe is being unfair to me.  I am able bodied and “healthy” enough to do what I can to support them. However, I just may need to knock out a few burpees from time to time because cancer fucking sucks.

 

 

Fit Latina in the Making: The Unwelcome Reminders

This week I’ve been bombarded by devastating health updates for several people in my life. These three incredible women are all fighting a tremendously difficult battle against Stage 4 Breast Cancer.

When I learned about the first person this week, it immediately reminded me of a promise I had made to my friend Deyla who lost her journey to this very diagnosis a little over 2 years ago. I vowed then that I wouldn’t take my “health” for granted.

I remember feeling frustrated with myself for taking my time on this planet lightly. For not doing even half of what I saw her trying to do despite the devastating updates from her doctors that the treatments were not working. She fought every second because she wasn’t done living. She wanted to see her children grow up, she wanted more days with her husband and she wanted to continue laughing with us (her sisters, friends and family). She wasn’t given that privilege.

Deyla has had to inspire us from beyond. My sorority sisters and I are closer than ever and our friendship became stronger when we rallied to support her and her family. We made a promise to each other to not only get together in times of grief. We needed to see each other more regularly, and we have because of Deyla.  She is a part of every gathering, and we know that we should thank her for bringing us all together again.

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But to learn that three new people in my circle have this very same diagnosis is both upsetting and motivating. I can’t work on the research to find a cure, but I can do my part to provide whatever I can that will make a difference.

For now, I need to continue on my path of getting healthier while I find ways to support my coworker, my friend’s aunt and my aunt. These three kind, gentle souls have already given so much to this universe, and I pray that they will have many more years to continue showering this universe with their sweet spirits and loving hearts.

I promise to not take my health for granted so that I can continue to emulate them in my daily life and work.

I see how medical illness impacts families financially every day, so I’m not even going to hesitate in putting this ask out for my aunt Nena. Her family has a Go Fund Account open to help in her fight. Any amount will greatly assist them in focusing on what they should most – time as a family and her treatment. I would be so very grateful for your support.

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