I am Jen, Jen I am

my journey towards happy and healthy healing…inside and out!

Archive for the category “healing”

today, tomorrow, and beyond

Life is full of Starts and Stops.

MY life is extremely full of starting and stopping and starting over.

My journey to find my happy and healthy “place.” You know that place where IT just happens and I am not stressing how to make it happen, yeah, that place. I have been struggling to find this place for a very long time and it has gotten to be even more of a struggle in the past few months.

I should be so much farther along in my weight loss.

I should be so much stronger.

I should be so much more consistent with  my exercising.

I should be happy.

I should be…


Wait just a damn minute.

I am happy. Ok, life isn’t perfect, but what exactly does perfect look like. Yeah, we struggle to make ends meet. Yeah, we have to keep our “date nights” to a minimum and we haven’t had a vacation in years. But I have an awesome husband. And an awesome kid (ok, I am not living in a fairy tale here but she is a good kid). I have a great job (mentally exhausting at times) and a great family.  Do we struggle? Hell yeah! Are we perfect? Hell No!

Do we love??



And this is ALL that matters!!


#truth – I started this post earlier on Saturday, then put it to the backburner and I went about and enjoyed my weekend. Then I came bacn and re-read all I had written. There are a bunch of “shoulds” up there. And I realized…FUCK the shoulds and the shouldofs.  I don’t need or want to live with regrets, they are not healthy and I don’t like the guilt that comes with them!

So I am done with the starts and stops. My life does not and should not be measured by the pounds lost or gained. I am not defined by the number of gym visits I make each week. I am over feeling guilty for a bad day of eating or a missed day at the gym.

Today is a new day.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Every day is a chance to be a little bit better than the day before.

I am going back to what makes me feel good.  I packed a bag for the gym and instead of making lofty goals, I am simply going to the gym. I am going to hop on the elliptical and get my groove back.



and beyond.



faking it, fighting it

I am so over this funk.

I hate being miserable.

I am not naturally a grumpy person, I prefer to be giggly and silly and happy and energetic and cheerleady. I hate the way this funk makes me feel. So I am going to fight it.

I am gonna fight to get to where I like to be. The place where I am my happiest me! I am going to work on me. I know I feel better when I am not stressing about losing weight but still working on it. I know I feel better when I am exercising regularly but not stressing it.

Ah-ha! I am seeing a pattern. I start with something that makes me feel better but then I somehow turn that same thing into something stressful. Stress leads to a funk. Funk leads me into a not-so-nice place. I came across this quote on pinterest (yep, I am pin-addict) and I was drawn to reading it over and over again.

I need to change this cycle I have been trapped in.

I am only human, so mistakes and emotions (emotions are not the mistakes, but mistakes compound emotions) happen. I always tell my students the only real mistake is to not learn from said mistakes. Emotions are meant to be felt. I have to let myself feel them, but the mistake I have been making is to let those emotions dictate my actions.

I can learn from this; I know a few things and I will build upon that which I know!

I know I do better with a plan but monthly goals of x-number of whatevers always gets me off track. I must STOP doing this. 

I do great when I make a daily to-do list. I need to do this every night before I go to bed. Its a way of seeing what the day looks like and keeping it all straight. I must write things down. It just works for me!

I know I feel better with regular exercise, so my new plan is no plan. I am going to get my ass to the gym! I like the gym, I feel better after I workout. So, my non-plan is to have a gym bag with me every day and after school I will do something. I will elliptical or lift weights or take a yoga class or some combination. I must JUST DO SOMETHING!!

I know I feel better when I am eating good-for-me foods but not being ridiculously restrictive. I also know, sometime I need to tough-love myself because I do have the most ridiculous sweet tooth and no control when it comes to brownies or goldfish. I know if I force myself to slow down and breathe a bit before I eat mindlessly, I can talk myself into better choices. As long as I have a menu plan I keep dinner rather balanced and as long as I pack lunches I keep them balanced. My biggest problem is snacking before and after dinner. I will make a conscious effort to make better choices than I have been making. I will also go back to tracking and counting my points.

It is time to find my happy.

Find my balance.

Do what feels better.

And while I figure it all out, I will fake it and fight it until it all works itself out!

It is all part of the process…the journey!

it hurts


weight gain

weight loss

healthy living


to not diet


no progress

will I know it when I get there?

what does it look like?


How do I get there?

what the fuck do I want?

what the fuck am I doing?

social media

That was a free-flow stream of conscious thing I found myself writing yesterday. I was in a meeting and my mind started to drift and I had a pen in my hand. I started to scribble and that turned to words . Then this list just appeared.

I have been floundering for a few weeks. At first, I tried to hide it. Then I just plainly hid myself. I posted when I went to WW and gained, again. Then I posted plans. Then that was IT!

I have done nothing since then!




I have not been to the gym. I have not taken walks around my neighborhood. I have not been stretching or icing. I have done nothing to make myself feel better.

I have been letting bad habits slide it.

Shortly after I last posted, I had a situation. An incident. I don’t really want to go into the details but I have already put a few things out there for the internetz to hear. My ex has surfaced, after about a 4 year silence but a 12 year absence, and made contact on facebook.

I hate to admit, but this situation really rattled me.  I was transported back in time to a time I would like to forget. One day, I may write more about this past of mine but this isn’t what today’s post is about. I was in an abusive relationship but I left that, I left him. I thought I had left all those insecure feelings behind me. Apparently not.

I have a lot going on in my head.

I am not in a great place.

I am not taking care of me the way I should.

I know what I need to be doing.

I know what will make me feel better.

But I can’t seem to do it.

What is wrong with me?

NOTHING is wrong with me!

I am just going through some stuff.

I am working through it.

But I can’t make myself feel worse while I work through my mental stuff.

I need to make better choices.

The not-better choices are making me feel worse, weak, and pathetic.

I have not been able to drag my ass to the gym, I feel so lost in my lifting plan.  So, I haven’t gone. I know this is making me feel worse. I just can’t seem to change it.

So, new plan: 

FEEL the feelings. Let them flow.

Feel the feelings but I can’t let them control and paralyze me.

Get my ass to the gym. Who cares what I am supposed to do, just get there and do SOMETHING!

Take some extra vitamins.

Track what I eat – even the not-so-good choices. I have been teetering between myfitnesspal and WW but I am going to stick with one. For now, I am going to stick with WW – my mom is paying for it and I don’t want to waste it plus the weekly meetings really do help. The support is the best!

Reach out to a friend, or blog, or whatever will make my head feel better. I cannot bottle up the feelings/emotions because they paralyze me.

So for now, my goals are on hold. I made May goals but I shouldn’t have. I suck at making and sticking to goals.  I am going to work on fixing the craziness going on in my head.  I will also call my doctor to get bloodwork done – it has been a while and I should know what is going on.  I am also contemplating a counselor – I have obvious issues with my ex that I didn’t know still existed.

I already work with many teenagers affected by domestic violence, abuse, and other terriblenesses. I want to help them. I have to help me first!

5 months ago…

5 months ago I had surgery to fix my knee and ankle issues!

ok, it was 5 months yesterday.

I have come a long way in five months!

5 months ago, I was completely non-active! I had cut all my running and walking out prior to surgery. After the last ankle sprain, my leg just didn’t want to be bothered. Walking in my classroom during the school day and physical therapy was enough for me! I know now I should have done something, even simple upper body exercises would have been better than the nothing I did.

Live and learn!

In January I re-joined Weight Watchers.

I completed physical therapy at the end of February.

I joined a gym in the middle of February.

I spent all March getting acquainted and comfortable with the gym.

I coerced many friends into NROLFW and Karina created a blog for us and we call ourselves the #ironsisters .

I fell in love with lifting heavy weights…still can’t believe I was scared of weight training!

I have tried new things – last night I tried zumba (OMG, what was I thinking?!?) and before that I tried yoga (I LOVE) and joining the gym and lifting weights.


I am learning so much about me and my body and what I CAN do!!

I am pushing myself.

I am growing.

I am still healing.

But I am strong!

I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

And I can only get stronger (physically and mentally) as I continue with my adventures.


I cannot believe it has been 5 months!!

I ca”t wait to see what is still to come!!!



warning, many eff-bombs

warning: this post is going to contain numerous eff-bombs!


Dear #dicklint,


Who the fuck do you think you are?!?

How dare you?

It has been years since we spoke and that did not go well.

It has been 12 years since you have seen my daughter.

You may share some biological connection but dna does not make a daddy.

Did you really think I would accept your request for facebook friendship?!?

Leave my friends alone! They aren’t going to feed you info.

If you wanted to be a part of her life, maybe you should have tried many years ago.

You will not disrupt her life!

You will not fuck with me!

You have no power over me!

Your have no control over me!

I will admit, at first I had fear.

Then, there was confusion.

Then anger.

Still anger!

Lots of anger!

I was paralyzed with the swirl of emotions.

They hit me so hard.

so fast.

So, all at once.

I was in a tornado.

Trapped in the swirl.

Paralyzed by it all, but mostly the anger.

Still the anger is present.

I am trying to breathe but it is hard.

Today, I take a stand!

Yesterday, I made it to the gym and I lifted heavy weights.

Lifting heavy weights, I focused on the strength I have gained.

I am not the same scared little 22 year old who left you and your abuse.

I am stronger.


But I can thank you.

You pushed me to gain strength.

You pushed me to be a better person (it wasn’t hard, I just needed you out of our life).

Full circle.

You can’t hurt me anymore.

I will NOT allow you to hurt my little girl.

I am strong!

I am in control.

You, are a pathetic excuse for a man!

However, I must thank you.

You taught me to trust myself.

and you gave me the greatest gift, but you can’t have her back.

So, NO, I will not be your facebook friend.

Are you that fucking dumb that you thought I would?!?


Fuck you and goodbye!


fear, healing, love

Why was I afraid of this?

Why did I never try this before?

Afraid may not be the right word, but I certainly have been apprehensive. I just had no interest in lifting weights. I did not think there was any need for strength training.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all. Partly because I have never had a gym membership and partly because I was running regularly.  I thought I was doing enough.

And then I got hurt while out running my 10 miler the week before my second half marathon.  I must admit, I wasn’t following my training plan 10o% as the plan was winding down. The summer heat took its toll on my long runs and then I hurt myself.

The recovery process from knee injury was long and grueling.  During that process I sprained my ankle (for the 9billionth time) and then had to add more time to my recovery.  Then, with the advice of my physical therapist and ortho, I decided it was time for surgical intervention.

I was out of work for 7 weeks.

I was in therapy for 2 months prior to surgery with about a 2 week break after surgery. Then I started therapy up again 10 days after surgery when I got my hard cast on.  PT started with my knee; while I was in the hard cast I was to put no weight on my ankle. After 4 weeks with the hard cast, I had the cast removed and immediately started more intense therapy for the knee and ankle. My leg was so weak and just standing on it was work. After the cast was off, I had almost 2 months of therapy.

I had a lot of physical therapy!

I did not go through ALL of that to not continue my good work!

In the last few weeks I have truly embraced lifting weights. Lifting gives me such an amazing feeling. I am using what I learned in physical therapy and taking it to the next level. In PT, I did a lot of squats and lunges and stretches…and now while doing the #NROLFW I am doing all those exercises and then some.  And yesterday, I realized my lunges are getting more fluid and easier. I am also able to drop my knee lower to the ground.

I am making progress!!

I am making GREAT progress!!




I am in a good place! Lifting weights has helped me feel comfortable and confident in my body. It is also helping me reflect on some things…like running, healing my body, and what I really want to do for me. My whole focus has changed since my surgery. I have noticed changes in the way I think and feel about my body and my workouts. I want to move my body even though I still worry I may get hurt. I feel best when I am moving my body regularly.

It’s weird, when I am lazy and not working out I feel lazy and sluggish and fat. I have been working out consistently, I have been pushing myself and really stepping out of my comfort zone and I feel great about it. I feel great about me. I have the same body but I feel like the non-lazy body is way sexier. I also tend to eat better!

How about that one?!?

The one thing I feared the most is helping me heal and love my body.

I once feared weights.

Now, they will heal me!

I have found a new love!



all over the place; a 4-month update

I just passed the 4-month mark! It has been a little over 4 months since my surgery. The first month and a half I was laid up on the couch. Then I had to wean off the crutches and start the long process of physical therapy. Months 2 and 3 are a blur of physical therapy 2-3 times a week. Plus, I went back to school. Talk about exhausting.

A few weeks ago I graduated physical therapy and joined a gym!

The gym has forced me to realize just how out of shape I have become! I know I have gained weight. 6 months on my butt with injury; surgery to fix said injury (essentially); and now recovery and I am almost back to my highest weight. I can feel my weight…in my jeans and my breathing (when I run up the stairs at school) and just everywhere. My clothes don’t fit right and I just don’t feel comfortable in my skin.

It is not all scale related…part of the uncomfort is dealing with recovery from surgeries and the unknown and fear. It is scary starting from square one. It is scary testing out my fixed ankle and knee. I keep expecting it to hurt or flop. I keep waiting for my ankle or knee to give out. Silly, I know…this is the whole reason I had surgery…which was a huge success…so why am I scared?!?

august 21st I hurt my knee while out running! I have since gained a bunch of weight and I am completely out of shape.

Yeah, that could be kinda scary!

I don’t want to get hurt again.

And I know it wasn’t just the injury that lead to this surgery. Years and years of ankle sprains and knee issues were the biggest factors in the need for surgery. But I spent most of my life living with pain in my knee and ankle. At least once a year from the time I was 12, I sprained my ankle, usually by falling in some embarrassing way (7th grade gym class, walking my dog, at home on a dog toy.)

And I know my ankle is so much more stable. I know my knee is working properly now.

I can feel the difference. In fact, my knee and ankle are still too tight. I need to keep moving it and stretching daily to keep the range of motion progressing.

I have decided to not pursue running any time soon. First of all, my joints will be happier if I don’t try running with my current weight. Second, I wan to build up the strength in my quads and calf in my right leg before I attempt to run.  I can still see the difference in size of my calves…my right calf is so small and the muscle is a bit sad. My quads feel better every day but still need to strengthen!

When I first started at the gym, I did all cardio. The elliptical and/or stationary bike….every day. Then I started New Rules of Lifting for Women. But I am stubborn and did cardio most days also. I was doing 3 days of cardio, 3 days of lifting with cardio for a long warm up and/or long cool down.

My calf revolted!

I was having severe calf cramps and pain. I stretched and stretched. I gave it heat and ice and soaked in epsom salt. My calf was not happy.

It was suggested I give cardio a break.

I pouted.

I did not want to give up my cross ramp (elliptical).

But I did it!

And first day I did weights only, I felt a difference. My calf was not pissed at me after the workout. So I have now gone about a week without cardio and my calf is happier.


I started lifting much heavier weights. I stepped out of the women’s private room, met with a trained and learned how to use the racked bar for squats and deadlifts. Trainer also made me start doing pushups on my toes. She says I can bang out modified pushups so it is time to push myself and do them on my toes! Even though it is harder and may take a lot longer to get the set done, it is better than racing through modified pushups.  It ain’t pretty, but I give it my all!!

I have decided I really like lifting weights!

I am amazed at how much I can lift. The bar is 45 pounds. That may not sound like a lot but last week I didn’t even think I could or should use weights for squats.  I am amazed at how amazing I feel when I am done a weights workout!

I am only at the beginning.  After tomorrow’s workout I will be halfway through Stage 1 of NROLFW. I am really getting into a groove.

truth…I am feeling quite badass!!


The PT Files

I have been in physical therapy since September, with only a handful of weeks with no PT after my surgery. I have been steadily attending PT since the day I had my ankle casted; we started with rehabbing the knee because I was not able to put any weight on my ankle for 4-weeks after I had cast.

February 17th marked 3 months since surgery.

I have been working hard to rehab my knee and ankle.

Yesterday, I graduated PT! Doug, my therapist, and my doctor are thrilled with the progress I have made! My ankle is STABLE and my knee tracks the way it is supposed to track. I am not having ANY pain in either the ankle or the knee. In fact, the only “pain” I am having is in my arch area and PT says this is a direct result of the strain on my calf muscle. Prior to surgery my calf did not get worked properly because of the knee and ankle issues. This is also the reason  my right (and dominant) calf is visibly (and has been for as long as I can remember) smaller than the left.

Even though, I graduated from PT yesterday, my PT gave me two things to work on every day. He wants me to balance (either on a balance board  or doubles up towels or couch pillows) one legged to increase that muscle.

ALSO, I began #NROLFW this week. I am excited to be strength training. For now, while I am still building up the strength I will not be adding weights to my squats, step ups, or lunges. There will be plenty of time for me to add weight to these exercises. I am working the program but making sure to keep my knees and ankle happy at the same time!

I am excited about continuing to heal  and strengthen my body. Over the past few months,  I have gained a new appreciation for my body and what it is capable of doing. I may not be at my ideal weight…oh, who am I kidding?!? I have gained weight and I hate that I feel mushy. BUT, I am up for the challenge of getting stronger and seeing just where this body of mine takes me!

I learned a lot through this injury, surgery and recovery. I wrote a guest post over at deb’s blog last week all about what I learned.

And I am still learning.

And listening…

and loving…

and mending!!



Just because PT is over does not mean I am done working!


so, I joined a gym

Last week a local gym had the deal of a lifetime….

an offer I just couldn’t refuse…(couldn’t help myself)

6 months for $99. Membership isn’t skimpy either. I have access to all 4 locations, all the classes, trainer sessions and something else but I forget.

I treated myself to an early birthday present!

Yesterday after work, I had my first appointment with a trainer.  Frank. I started out by telling Frank all about my surgeries and recovery.  He took me into the AOS (Art of Strength – kinda like what I think CrossFit looks like) room and started me doing kettlebells.  I alternated swings with jumping jacks to start. On the second round, I was not able to do jumping jacks. The jacks hurt my knee on the jump-out. Frank gave me some alternatives.

I wore my polar HRM (I am an ambassador and it is nice to be getting back to moving and grooving so I can use my HRM) but I forgot to actually start the workout. I was able to see my heart rate when I looked at my wrist, but I didn’t record all the data.

During my workout with Frank, every time I looked at my wrist my HR was up way high. WAY high, up at or near my HRmax.  I don’t know how much longer Frank was going to have me workout but he cut it short when after a round of KB swings followed by these pushup-thingies, my HR was up so high I felt pukey.


I gotta tell you, I don’t think I am ready for training. Or at least not with that trainer. I don’t really feel like I was listened. To be honest, I don’t think he was watching me the whole time.  And then the session was just sort of over.

Today, I am sore. Correction, my arms are sore.  My legs are ok but my arms are pretty sore. I am loving the sore feeling. I am still not in love with the trainer.  I cannot expect a trainer to know about my injuries/surgery so I can’t expect them to know how to help me. I have to be the expert on my body and since I still have more recovery to go through and I am the best trainer for my body.

Of course, I am going to need help. I have been reading New Rules of Lifting for Women, and I somehow conned  talked a few of my friends into joining me in a mission for strength.  I need this!! First of all, I just joined a gym. I paid for it, I damn well better use the damn gym. And second, I have gained weight I need to lose it but just counting points isn’t enough to make the kind of food changes that will help me lose. I need the fitness component. I know I feel better when I workout regularly. I am in no shape to start running….to be honest, I don’t want to run right now.

Today Trish, of I am Succeeding, blogged this:

“it hit me!! I have been trying to run a marathon race without ever training or running a smaller race first! I dive right in expecting too much too soon. Not taking things in a progressive manner.

So I am going to begin “training” taking things progressively and one step at a time, trying to enjoy this process and making life changes that are doable for me as I go.” 

I swear, I did a double take! I could have written those very words. I have lived those words. Hello…me over here, trained for a half marathon with only one 5K, that I only ran half,  under my belt.

I cannot.CANNOT. do that this time around. I have to ease into this so I don’t do any damage to my newly fixed knee and ankle. I have to ease into this so I want to continue doing it…if I kill myself I won’t love it…if I don’t love it, I won’t live it.

It has been a hell of a week.

I have been a mess. An emotional mess.

But yesterday I went to the gym and today I remembered how much I sorta like sore muscles.

It’s a start.

I am ready for the next step.

The next very small step!


2 month update

Tuesday was January 17, 2012


My 2-month post-surgery follow up.


3 weeks since cast removal.

I went in to see my ortho surgeon and he was thrilled. My ankle stability is so good its like a brand-new ankle. My knee is tracking and gliding the way it is supposed to move.  I ditched my crutches over the weekend and Doc agreed that was ok. I am still wearing an ASO brace every day.

Now, Doc wants me to wean myself out of the brace in the next 4 weeks. I wear brace for school but take it off at home. I will probably wear brace if I go anywhere this weekend. I have also been given permission to go back to exercising. I can only do no/low-impact activities: yoga, swimming, stationary bike, and walking. No zumba…no worries there, I was never coordinated enough for zumba and it always hurt my knee when I tried. No running…yet! I know I will be back…at what level, I do not know.

I have a whole new challenge ahead of me.

I am relearning to walk.

My quads are in a constant state of soreness. My physical therapist told me that is because my legs have not been used in 2 months so now it is like I am always working out – every step, every time I stand. Since I can’t take a rest day from walking, I am going to be sore.

I am learning baby steps.

This one is extremely hard for me! I am usually thinking 6 steps ahead. Last August I was training for 2 half marathons but thinking about more. I wasn’t living in the moment; it wasn’t possible because I was thinking about the next greatest thing. To be honest, if I really think about it – I started running before I even was really ready to start running. I started running because the running excitement among my twitter fiends was too contagious not to hard to resist.

I am learning to be gentle.

I do not have to be hardcore or a badass to kick ass!! I can do right for my body and heal it properly without beating it down or beating me up!

I am learning to try new things or retry things I had long discarded.

Yoga. I have tried yoga but never been able to stick with it. Yoga sorta pisses me off…I was never able to turn my brain off enough to enjoy yoga. I am still going to try it again. I have a bunch of new video to try. I really think I need yoga in my life.

Water Fitness: I just found out that the local high school offers a water fitness class twice a week. And as a resident, I can take classes for $3. I may have even roped my little sister to try class with me. I am not exactly thrilled with the idea of a bathing suit but I am hoping to be brave enough to do it. Having my sister with me will help.

Walking. Not a new activity but a long lost activity. When I started the losing weight game, I started walking. I loved walking and somehow forgot the joy of walking and walking dvds – oh, how I loved those – why did I stop?!? I am going to enjoy the joy of simply walking in my neighborhood (and when I am ready for more impact I will add in my walking dvds – I love leslie sansone)..

I ALSO need to stay the course at Physical Therapy.

I went to Physical Therapy yesterday. I was able to up my weights on all the exercises and they even added 3 new exercises. I have been making progress and I want to keep progressing.

Today I will attempt 12 minutes on the stationary bike. Maybe I could do more than 12 minutes, but I did 10 minutes the other day comfortably. And it felt good. I need work up S.L.O.W.L.Y.


I was g-chatting with my good friend, deb, and she helped me figure this out: I can only compare me today with me yesterday. I MUST stop comparing myself to others. I must stop trying to jump ahead so I can compare/compete with my active friends.


It has been 2 months (and a few days) and I am JUST STARTING the work!

I have a long way to go but I am looking forward to the process.

MY process.


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