Category Archives: throwbacks

Throwbacks on comparison and number fixation.

After a most perfect weekend of unplanned-ness, good, quality time with M, and the downtime I’ve been craving (like whoa), I sit here somewhat amazed at a few things I realized about my habits and how they’ve changed.

In particular? Comparison and number fixation. 

These are two things that have dogged me big time in the past year, where I allowed comparing myself to others, including my sister Jess and to well, just about anyone, and my fixation on numbers (namely – the scale) to drag me down and lose sight of my achievements and progress.

There were two instances where I had an amazing a-ha moment that made me realize that I’ve come a lot farther than I really even realized. So, I call this a ‘throwback’ of sorts because I recall it being just about this time last year where I was neck-deep in a downward spiral of self negativity with relation to comparison and number fixation.

The first instance? Running.

At this point last year, I was struggling to embrace running, to love it as much as I proclaimed. To want to run another half marathon. And while I did run another half marathon last year, it was also that experience that made me realize that I am NOT a racer. But deep down? I was comparing myself to my sister. And her amazing PR. And wondering ‘why not me?’ WHY can’t I do it? Why is she better than me?

Fast forward to this weekend. My sister and brother in law ran a kick-ass half marathon…another PR. And I don’t think I could have been prouder if I tried. I was beaming when she texted me her finish. I was excited and proud to see all of the congratulatory tweets and Facebook posts. I reveled in it. And I didn’t feel an ounce of jealousy, frustration or ‘why not me?’ moments. In fact, I channeled her ‘run happy’ mantra on my own run that morning with M, as we spontaneously decided to find a new route. And ya know what? I ran happy.

Compare THAT to last year? I can’t even describe how happy that makes me. I’m not comparing anymore. I’ve released myself of it. And instead? I’m proud of her, and happily running my own way.

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The second instance? I decided to weigh myself this weekend, after not weighing myself since December. I honestly had no idea what the scale would say. Of course, I hoped it would be lower than when I weighed in December, but told myself to only do it if I knew I could handle what it said.

So, as I waited to teach my barre n9ne class on Sunday, I stepped on the scale. And looked down. At first, I was happy. It was below my goal weight of that December timeframe. But then my mind automatically started to want to compare. At first, I did. And then I brushed it off. And then I did it again. I started to fixate. But it was half-hearted. I didn’t WANT to compare, or fixate, or obsess. I taught my class, I channeled my frustration (and probably killed my clients, hehe, but hey, what’s a little extra sweat on a Sunday Funday?!). I looked in the mirror. In my brand-new Lululemon outfit that I couldn’t believe I was wearing. Crops I never thought I could rock. And I smiled. I felt good. The number started not to matter so much, or rather, I started to own that number, to be proud of it, and not lose sight of all that I’ve accomplished in the ‘year of barre n9ne’.

On my drive home, I thought about it some more. And I realized something that really drove it home for me. A proportional loss that made me realize that I had, indeed, worked so hard, accomplishing a number that I wanted to own, rather than ‘wish away’ into a lower, phantom number, I embraced it. 100%. 

And that, my friends, are two examples of harnessing two very almost-paralyzing habits – comparison and number fixation – and instead, embracing and celebrating the change, the progress, and the determination that I’ve worked so hard for. There’s no such thing as comparison…to anyone but yourself. 

This one needs zero explanation. Zero.

Friday Fun: This is how our (sisterly!) minds work: ‘The Rules’ Edition

See? awesome #rundate pic! I'm on the right, FYI (lol)

A few weeks ago, during a fabulous sisterly run, we gabbed about the ‘rules’ we tend to create for each other and about each other…and some of them are pretty funny, I must say. So, we thought we’d throw them into a blog post that we are both posting today (see hers here) for a little Friday Fun. Please note, most of these are completely ridiculous and as opposite of serious as possible. Enjoy and happy weekend!!

This is how our minds work: ‘The Rules’ Edition:

A ‘triple’ is only allowed on the first Monday of every month (just kidding…kinda)…and only if the other one is also doing a triple. Otherwise, it is completely fair to bitch the other one out for doing a triple. (caveat – if we ever DO complete a triple workout, we promise, we’re fully fueled before/after, the workouts are spaced out, and we don’t make a habit of it, we promise. We’re not here to advocate over-exercising!)

Rest days must be ‘complete’ rest days and must be taken in the same week. None of this ‘I’ll use Sunday as my rest day’ when the other knows that her last rest day was the PREVIOUS Tuesday (in other words, more than a full week between rest days? No bueno.)

There is no such thing as ‘only‘ running XX number of miles for an allotted run. A run is a run, plain and simple. Could be 3 miles, could be 12. It all ‘counts.’ It all matters. It all rocks.

It’s completely normal to discuss the week ahead’s workouts and how you can strategically plan run, barre, sister dinner dates into the mix.  <—OATT alert!! At least one of the three must happen each week. (and every other ‘date’ should include sushi. Or oatmeal. It’s a rule).

Throwback ‘rule’ – you can only trade three skittles (at minimum and none of this only yellow and green, there must be at least one ‘money color’, i.e. pink, purple, or one red. MUST.) forone starburst (again, said starburst must be a ‘money color’ or else the 3 skittle-minimum no longer applies. You can give her none in return as far as I’m concerned. In fairness, of course, to the flavor law.)

(does anyone else now suddenly have a random craving to go buy a pack of starburst now? yeah…er…me neither.)

There is absolutely no truth to the phrase: I’m not in the mood for wine tonight (if sister says this, there is something seriously wrong….or she’s pregnant. Justkidding.Justkidding.Justkidding.)

A couple of chocolate chips is totally an acceptable yogurt topping. ‘nuf said.

There is always a way to fit in ‘Jess and Scott’ pizza and two glasses of wine and still be within ‘your number’ (i.e. food log ‘number’) and not starve yourself all day. It’s been done. And it was worth every last cheesy filled calorie.  TRUTH.

If you’re gonna eat a cookie, eat the damn cookie. A real one. Homebaked. With real sugar. Real butter. Real chocolate chips. No going halfway and stopping. Commit to the cookie. And enjoy it, dammit.

You can work peanut butter into any recipe. Savory. Sweet. Doesn’t matter. It ALWAYS WORKS.

And finally, you are fully within your rights to block your sister’s Facebook and Twitter updates while traveling to avoid oatmeal envy. It’s sheer torture otherwise. Trust me (us) on this one.

(do you have any sibling ‘rules’ or random rules for yourself that when you write them down, are just funny and borderline ridiculous!? do share!!)

Throwbacks: a panic attack, revisited.

**Here’s a throwback of a different kind. Most of these have been recaps of stories I’ve shared on my old blog, about my divorce, or things I haven’t shared here, that are part of my story that some of you may not have read. This story and journey I have recapped here. The story of the first year of my new job and all the ups, downs and in-betweens…**

It was this day, a year ago, that my boss went on maternity leave 10 days early. And a day that I had my very first panic attack. Something I’d never experienced before. Suddenly, a wave of nausea, fear and well, panic washed over me. I was scared. I wasn’t ready (or so I felt). And to top it off, I was going to Jamaica in two days (given my boss did not think she was going to go early as it was her first child, my scheduling a trip right before she left didn’t seem to be a big deal…at the time!).

The perfect storm to cultivate a panic attack, no?

I remember sitting at my desk, in my old apartment, texting M frantically, IMing my sister Jess, and tweeting out my feelings to anyone and no one at the same time…scared and worried and wondering how the hell I was going to make it through three months without my boss, my safety blanket and security net, still very new to my job and to working for a global company (speaking of, I had my first call with our China PR team that night, a call I rarely joined, let alone had to lead!) and many names, faces and personalities to cope with. I had a list a mile long of notes, reminders, who to send what and when, yet I was still scared and feeling very unprepared.

And it was then that M said to me: “remember, it’s okay to lose to your opponent, but you shouldn’t lose to fear.”

And that statement, as simple as it sounds, was exactly what I needed to face the next 12 weeks. It was probably the hardest 12 weeks of my career. There were a lot of tears. There was a lot of unknowns I had to just face, and do. There was a lot of faking it, and a lot of questions I hated asking for fear of ‘sounding stupid’ (one of my biggest fears). There was a LOT of travel. There was a shitton of discomfort.

But most of all?

There was a shitton of growth too. I took this job in January 2011 with a hunger to grow, to be pushed, to learn what it is that I want out of this career move, what I want my job to look like. And looking back at the last almost year and a half? I have come incredibly far. I won’t mince words or half-say it. I conquered it. And I am damn proud of that.

But.

There is still so much I need and want to learn. So much more growth. More discomfort (it IS the year of getting out of the ‘zone after all) and reaching the next level. I’ve sensed that change starting. The ‘what am I waiting for’ feeling…just start doing it. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t even ask for it. Just DO it. That’s why I was hired. And that’s why I took it upon myself to request attending two social media events coming up (which I cannot wait to go to!) and why I am trying to approach my day-to-day with more confidence and direction. Not waiting for permission or for the answer to be given to me.

And I think this idea – the premise of unseating comfort zones and *not* waiting for permission can be applied to so much in life. What, precisely, *are* we waiting for? And why are we waiting? Think about it. There is always something ‘on our bucket lists’ or something we want to do ‘when we have time’ but why wait? Why not make it a priority and just for it. Empower yourself. Don’t wait to be empowered.

And that is exactly what I plan to do. No more panic attacks. Just do it. 

Throwbacks: Selling my home.

I haven’t written a ‘throwbacks’ post in awhile, but was prompted to last night when I came across an email from my old real estate agent. I’ll get back to the significance of that email in a minute, but first, the story of selling my (marital) home.

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When I went through my divorce, selling our home was one of the biggest stumbling blocks that stalled the process more than anything and was one of the hardest parts to swallow, because not only was my life being turned completely upside down, my home was soon going to be taken away from me too, leaving me with nothing but a blank slate (in hindsight, of course, having a blank slate and starting fresh elsewhere was the best and fastest way for me to heal, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t an extremely hard decision).

The process itself was completely eye-opening, because navigating the mortgage waters put me in an utter tailspin. I had no idea where to start. I didn’t know if we could even keep the house, if we tried. And tried, we did. Attempted to refinance it so the mortgage might be feasibly affordable for one of us to maintain. Fail. We had an 80/20 mortgage (which mortgage companies now no longer do), which meant 80% on one mortgage and 20% on the other (to avoid PMI), and neither mortgage company was willing to consolidate into the other and neither would refinance since we – surprise, surprise – had little equity in the house since buying it 3 years prior.

Once we realized that there would be no way either of us could afford to keep the house, we shifted towards selling. Another tough pill to swallow, because at the time, I was hell-bent on staying in that house. We’d both put so much time, money and effort into it, and I loved it, from the yard, to the pool, to the home gym I’d created.  Home appraisal came back and when I opened it up, I almost passed out. Since buying in 2005 (now, in 2008), the house had depreciated by almost $100K. $100K. Yup.

What’s next? Short sale. Short sales were, at the time, just becoming more commonplace for all of those people that bought at the height of the market, when prices were high, but interest rates were (relatively) low. It felt like a scarlet letter to me, though, because I always equated short sale homes to beat-up, abandoned homes for some reason. But ours? Was beautiful. Brand new remodeled bathroom to the 9s (for 5 figures, no less. gulp. that would bite us), new roof, floors redone, walls redone, basement floor retiled (it was a finished basement)  and the list goes on. In those 3 years, we’d put about $40,000 into it, upping the loss that would come.  I utterly hated the idea at first, and as I’ve mentioned in prior throwbacks on the end of my marriage, this was one of our biggest fights…to sell, or to try and fight for it. We eventually agreed to sell, no matter how badly it would hurt our credit, no matter how low the price.

And the price…was low. Less than HALF of what we paid, and completely obliterating that $40,000 we’d invested into it, to boot. THAT hurt. THAT was hard to swallow. Especially as the mortgage companies ordered us to pay $12,000 at closing in order for them to wipe the debt clean (where we wouldn’t be taxed on the loss, but our credits would nose-dive). Ouch. And back to the part about the email from my old real estate agent? When we closed on our house, our agent, to his credit, got us a buyer faster than I ever thought possible, but how? He was an investor. Rolled up in his nice shiny Benz, dressed to the 9s. And we were literally handing our home over to him for pennies on the dollar.

That real estate agent is this man…now starring in a show on A&E called ‘Flipping Boston’ (on the left)…he’s profiting from his smarmy ability to short sell homes and flipping them, to boot. I had my reservations that he was tied in to the investor he sold to, and that he would profit, personally, from our short sale, but this confirmed it, to me. Reading that email last night…and my blood boiled. It brought all of those feelings back, the pain, frustration, anger and sadness.

But, then, once I ranted a little bit to M, and to my sisters, I realized something. It wasn’t worth it. Fighting for the house wouldn’t have been worth it for a number of financial reasons, but also? Why would I have wanted to fight for a home that was akin to the shell of my marriage? Why would I want that shell hovering over me day in and out? I wouldn’t. 

And as M hugged me tight, and told me that we will have a bigger, better, and more soundly-invested home in the future…together? All of that anger and frustration melted away…into the most perfect evening together. Everything truly happens for a reason…even if it may not seem like it at the time, it truly does. And this was just another reminder of just that. And I am firmly planted where I am meant to be.

2011: a retrospective (part I)

Taking a cue from Scribblings of a Soccer Mom, I thought it would be great to wrap up 2011 with a snapshot of the year that was, month by month. Beyond being a good way for me to look back at the year and the ups and downs, it’s also a fun way to catch up on old posts (if you are new to reading!) and as for me, I always enjoy reading through old posts in my journey!

2011: a retrospective (part I – because putting all of this into one post would make this ridiculously longer than it already is!)

January

I started my new job, and the first month was an utter whirlwind. I traveled 3,000 miles to start my first day of work and while it was the scariest feeling in the world, it was also the most exhilerating. I am DOING this. I am diving in and not looking back. And dive in I did. I faced the company sales conference (which I’ll face again in about a month, this time in Laguna Beach…oh twist my arm…), which was the most out of my comfort zone I’ve ever been. But I stuck it out, and got to run alongside Pacific Coast Highway on my right, and the beach on my left, in 80 degree weather. Not too shabby. It was also the month I started the Core Fusion Challenge. (honestly, if I thought that was going to change me…it has NOTHING on the barre n9ne challenge I had no idea would change me in so many ways, forever!)

M and I were still relatively fresh into our relationship and adjusting to my traveling for work, while a challenge, was not impossible. M ‘got’ me then and ‘gets’ me even more every single day. His patience and willingless to compromise always ceases to amaze me. (side note, I just read the tail-end of this post and the phrase ‘my hands aren’t scissors’ still cracks me up!)

February

My travel schedule for work continued heavily in February (and March, for that matter) and I even had to face carting around the CEO of my company for a day of meetings in San Francisco. Pressure, much? But I did it, and that’s all that matters!! I got homesick during both of these trips, but I tried my best to keep busy, explore the area, and meet up with fabulous bloggy friends (Erika and Misty!).

I think February was one of the more pivotal months for my relationship with M as well. We had to adjust to the constant work travel, meaning communicating was (and still is!) more important than ever. We’d skype. We’d text. We’d talk. And I’d so look forward to him meeting me at the gate at the airport, smiling face, no matter how late at night it was. And during our first Valentine’s weekend together, when he uttered these words, I’ll never forget that feeling. Ever. I too love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone.(and here is yet another hilarious post about our random conversations – hehe)

March

We went to Jamaica (with my sister and Scott and a couple of friends), and had a blast. However, it came with the added stress and panic that my boss went on maternity leave unexpectedly two weeks early…the day before my trip! I thought I would be asked to cancel my trip, but thankfully, I was not. But I did worry about it while I was away, I am not going to lie. Things went okay on the work front while I was gone, but March touched off three months of flying solo at work and dealing with a lot of navigating completely foreign waters. I think this was one of the most pivotal times for me in my job this year, by far. March was also the month that my body and self-image issues really took a divebomb and now, looking back at the pictures from that trip to Jamaica, I can see why. I definitely had gained some weight since meeting M (ah, the perils of dating and eating out!), traveling (again, eating out, no routine etc) and I just wasn’t seeing it yet…but I would…

(another gem of a fun post about M. I keep finding these, forgetting I wrote them!)

April

I struggled a lot with my job in April. Because I was constantly compared to my boss. Because I was constantly reminded that I am not her. That I am still learning. It was a tough month for me, but as I said, probably one where I learned the most and grew the most. And I ‘only’ had to travel once in April (vs. twice a month for Jan – Mar!). March was when I started my throwbacks series, talking about my Nonna, my marriage and divorce, and the story of M. Still one of my favorite series.

May

I’d call May the most significant month for me of 2011…at work and on my personal journey. Why? Because for as invalidated as I felt sometimes at work, I was also given the biggest compliment I could have ever received during a really stressful time period (a huge product launch) where my interim boss said I never skipped a beat and it was as if my boss was there the entire time. It was a compliment I really needed to hear, but dammit, I earned it. And second? May was the month that kicked off the barre n9ne challenge, something I feel was the biggest blessing for me and my sister this year. Meeting Tanya and facing my body image issues and struggles head-on and committing to something I never thought was even possible…well, that in itself is just incredible. And sitting here today, seeing how far we’ve both come since that point? I have no words. I am speechless.

(another fun post about my conversations with M – hehe)

June

The barre n9ne challenge was in full force this month. I worked hard. I ran. I took 4-5 barre n9ne classes per week. I adjusted to my caloric ‘number’ and logging my daily eats. And I realized that food is fuel…and that my emotional attachment to it was slowly dwindling. June was an intense month but I loved every minute of it. It also kicked off a flurry of summer fun, beach, Maine, anything to do with the sun and I was there. June was also the first month I did not travel for work. And little did I know I would not travel for work again until September. (my boss also returned to work from maternity leave – hooray!) I also traveled to NYC to see one of my closest (divorced) friends get married…to her penguin. It was an absolutely stunning weekend.

Part II to come tomorrow…I hope you’ve enjoyed my little retrospective!

And now it’s your turn…tell me about a time this year that was completely pivotal for you. Was it a physical challenge? New job? Did you move? What shaped 2011 for you?