Candi Cares

Encouragement, motivation, discussions on health & wellness, financial advice and love. All packaged in a nice little blog and sent from me to you.

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Weigh In Results/ July Totals

Apparently the increase in exercise and cooking at home continues to pay off.  I went to weigh in today and lost 2.4 pounds!  I was really happy to see this loss because I had a slip up during the early and  middle part of the week which in the past would have derailed my weight loss.  My mom’s birthday was on Monday (which meant eating out and cake), I had a potluck at work, complete with spinach dip, gooey brownies and plenty of bread and chips and I didn’t get my butt to the gym like I planned.

But instead of allowing myself to completely slide off track, I owned up to everything I ate, forgave myself, put in some extra time at the gym and was extra careful towards the end of the week.  And the scale rewarded me for getting it together.  I’m proud of me!

And now for a recap of milestones reached in July:

– I lost 9.4 pounds this month

– I increased my time on the stairclimber from 10 minutes to 25 minutes

– I joined a running group and ran for more than 30 seconds

– I stayed accountable to my plan and never missed a weigh in

 

I am seeing progress and that is making me motivated to see more progress.  Can’t wait to see what August has to bring!

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Let Go!!

Let Go!!

I was invited to be a guest blogger on my friend Michelle’s blog “Michelle’s Motivation.”  Here is a link to the piece I wrote on letting go.  When you get a chance, read it and let me know your thoughts!!

Run, Candice, Run!!

Run, Candice, Run!!

I am proud to say that I am no longer a running virgin! I almost did two miles today!

Go Candice, it’s your birthday!

I ran and nobody was chasing me. This is indeed progress.

This is a pic of the Black Girls Run College Park Cuties group. In case you couldn’t tell, i’m the one in yellow.

And i’ll be there for the run next week, cause i’m crazy like that!

Join me, won’t you??

Be your own best friend

The Most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. ~Carl Gustav Jung

I have learned many things the past 10,000 times I’ve attempted to get healthy.  But perhaps the most important lesson I have taken with me is that in order to make any change in your life, you have to get to the point that you treat yourself like you would treat your best friend…. with love, kindness, forgiveness, sometimes  a kick in the butt, but always with respect.

In the past, I found it much easier to be kinder and gentler with others and not so much with myself.

For example, when I used to make a mistake, or when I didn’t do something that I knew I should’ve done (like exercise or eat right,) it was the end of the world.  I used to call myself stupid and lazy and incompetent.  “I’ll never get it together because I have no self control! What is wrong with me?!?!” was how my internal dialogue sounded.

And the more I beat myself up, the worse I felt.  And the worse I felt, the more I did non-healthy things as “punishment” for not getting it together.  It’s a vicious cycle.

That all changed when I had a conversation with a friend of mine who heard me talking about myself negatively.  She cringed when I told her that I was “fat and lazy” and could never do anything right.  “Well that’s your problem,” she said.  “You probably wouldn’t have the guts to say what you say about yourself to your worst enemy!  Stop being so mean to you! ”

I was shocked by her comments.  I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks.  She was right.  I was mean to me.  And it had to stop.

Since that eye opening moment, I have made a conscious effort to find ways to be nice to myself and more gentle with myself.  When I make mistakes, instead of telling myself how horrible I am for not having self control, I replace that internal dialogue with “You can make a better choice from now on.  You can do this.  You are more than capable.”

And you know what?  You actually start believing what you tell yourself.  I feel stronger and happier when I’m nicer to me.

Listen folks, we all have issues.  We all have things that we like or don’t like about ourselves.  My issue is my weight.  I don’t like that I’ve allowed myself to get overweight, out of shape and unhealthy.  But you know what?  That doesn’t mean that I can’t still love myself completely right now. I’m not saying that I have to stay overweight and unhealthy.  I’m just saying that  I don’t have to wait until I’m in “healthy land” to finally feel like I’m a worthwhile human being.  I’m worthwhile right NOW!  This very instant.

And now that I am walking in this truth, it is easier for me to continue my healthy lifestyle.  Why?? Because I love myself.  Because I feel worth the extra effort to cook meals at home and exercise.  I feel deserving of all of the good things this life has to offer.

Come out of the darkness and viciously negative cycle of self-hate.  It does nobody, especially yourself, any good.

And even if you can only find one good thing to say about yourself, then repeat that one thing every time you begin to think negatively about you.  My thing is my smile. I think I have a beautiful smile and a great attitude.  As I started reminding myself of just these two things, I suddenly started to find other things to add to the list.  And I was on my way.

God made no mistakes when he created you.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made.  Don’t disrespect yourself by feeding yourself negativity that tells you differently.

Weigh In Results

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Well I went to weigh in today and was told that I lost 7 pounds this week.  I guess planning and eating meals at home, exercising, blogging and making my youtube videos to stay accountable actually does work!  Imagine that!

Just for kicks, I’ll try it again this week. 

Join me if you like! I’d love to have more company on this journey. 🙂

Be the best YOU can be!

Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than YOU! ~Dr. Seuss

I’ve always considered myself a chameleon of sorts.   I easily adapt to whatever situation I am placed in, and can usually get along with most people that I encounter.  However, in order to accomplish this, a lot of the time I’ve had to essentially live a lie and change how I truly think, feel and behave in order to “fit in.”  If I was with a group that thought it wasn’t harmful to smoke in front of babies and they asked my opinion….”yeah, I guess all those studies that show second hand smoke is harmful are wrong.   You guys are probably right!” would be my response.    If I was around people who liked to go out to the club, I pretended that “clubbing was the best thing since sliced bread” when really I wanted to be at home watching The Bodyguard (doesn’t it always send shivers up your spine when Whitney Houston runs from the plane and throws herself into Kevin Costner’s arms for a passionate embrace??? Or is that just me?  **shrugs**).

But I have learned, my dear readers, that you cannot keep this up for long.  At some point, the REAL you is going to shine through.

And this happens because, quite frankly, you were not meant to be anyone else but who you are.  God gave you certain talents and gifts that he didn’t give to me or your mother or you friend Spike.  And when you try so hard to be who other people want or expect you to be and not who you are truly meant to be, you rob the world of the greatness that is you!  And you become bitter and unfulfilled in the process.

But in order to begin being the authentic you, you have to accept one unfortunate truth that there is no getting around.  Not everyone is going to like the authentic you.  And that’s simply because nobody likes everybody all of the time.  People can like or not like you for the pettiest of reasons.  They might not like you because you’re too dark, or too light, or you smile too much, or frown too much.  Maybe they don’t like how you smell.  Maybe they don’t like that you have all of your teeth.

A wise man once said “Show me a person that everyone  likes, and I’ll show you a person who is not being themselves.”

Okay, maybe a wise man didn’t say that, and maybe I just made that up off of the top of my head, but you get the point.

Being you takes courage.  And sometimes, when you are true to yourself, you may find that you are the only one who feels a certain way about a particular issue or decision.  And that’s okay.  Because what if the decision being made was whether everyone should kill themselves and you were the only one who thought that was NOT a good idea and stuck to your guns?  I know that is an extreme example, but the truth behind it is there.

And the more you continue letting your natural self shine through, the easier it gets.  You become happier.  You become healthier.  Because you are finally living in truth!

Today, introduce the world to your authentic self…the good, the bad and the fantastic.  The more you let yourself shine, the more you give permission to others to let their light shine.  In the words of my friend Sophia….BE THE LIGHT!

Enjoy your weekend!

Change is Inevitable. Suffering is optional.

“Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

In May of 2008, I remember sitting in my office working on a spreadsheet and suddenly, the room started spinning.  Imagine the feeling you get after getting off of a rollercoaster and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  I went home early that day and went to sleep, only to wake up the next morning seeing two of everything.  Let me tell you, turning on the television and seeing two Matt Lauer’s staring back at you is crazy weird.  But it went away as quickly as it came, and I shrugged it off as something related to my contacts.

I called my mom, because she’s a nurse and told her about my vision that morning.  She wanted me to get checked out immediately.  I, of course, felt she was being the typical Mother and overreacting, but I made an appointment with my doctor anyway.

My doctor did the exam, and told me that he thought everything was okay, but said I should get an MRI, just to be absolutely sure. I had never been in an MRI machine before, so I was actually looking forward to getting the scan.  Oh, how naïve I was back then. (FYI, if you’re claustrophobic, ask for something to relax you….you’re welcome in advance for this unsolicited advice! Lol.)

I got a call the next day from my doctor.  “The scan found something,” he tells me.  “I want you to see a Neurologist so he can discuss the findings.”

At this point, I’m still oblivious to how serious this is.  The absolute look of terror on my mom’s face should have been an indication, but, again, I thought she was reacting like any mother would react when given less than stellar news about their child.

We go in to see the Neurologist, and twenty minutes into the visit he says to me, “Yeah, you have some disease activity…..looks like Multiple Sclerosis.  We probably should do a spinal tap.”

Blink.  Blink.  Long Stare.

I’m sorry……..come again? I must have had something in my ear.  I thought I heard you say I had MS.  You know, the disease that causes people not to be able to walk or care for themselves….am I on candid camera??? 

And then I went a little nuts.  Because this cannot be happening.  I’m 25 years old!  I’m young! I’m supposed to have my whole life ahead of me! Is this some type of sick joke?

He tells me “not to worry” and that most likely I won’t be affected until I’m much older. You just may need a wheelchair by the time your forty.  That’s at least twenty years from now….want a pill to help you sleep tonight given what I just told you?” (Note to self:  Look into giving a course to doctor’s on how to break bad news to patients.)  

I remember being so low.  So incredibly low that I felt I had no one to turn to.  My parents couldn’t take it away.  My friends couldn’t take it away.  I felt completely alone and scared as hell.   I didn’t want to eat.  I didn’t want to sleep.  I just wanted to cry and scream and cry some more and throw things.

I was pissed off at God.  I was pissed off at life.  Woe is me, was my new mantra.

I remember that I started listening to Charles Stanley’s (my favorite preacher) sermons on the computer.  I started reading my Bible.  I decided that if God had done this to get my attention, then boy was he going to get an earful from me.  And then during one of my screaming sessions with God, I remember being overcome with a feeling of peace.  It was the first time since I got the news that I felt like I was going to be okay.  I can’t really explain it, but I can totally relate to the biblical saying “peace that surpasses all understanding.”  That is what I felt that day.

I remember going with my parents to get a second opinion.  I was able to see the top Neurologist dealing with Multiple Sclerosis in the area.  I was prepared for him to tell me that I would be in a wheelchair.  I was prepared for him to tell me that my hopes of husband, family, playing with my children and traveling were over.

He told me quite the opposite.  He looked me in the eyes and said what I wanted to hear so badly “Yes, there is something going on.  Yes your life will be a bit different.  But you will be fine.”

He went on to explain that attitude is everything when it comes to how well people handle this horrible disease.  He told me that it affected everyone differently and that other than beginning to inject myself every week (joy), that there was nothing else that I needed to do other than get enough rest and take care of myself.  “We’ll take each day as it comes,” he told me.

Before this diagnosis, I thought that I had control.  I lived in that fantasy world where nothing bad happens to you and everything is butterflies and rainbows.  When you are faced with a devastating diagnosis you are forced to grow up fast.  Things that once were so important just aren’t anymore.  Things that used to make you upset don’t even phase you.

I was really reluctant to share this post today, but God had on my heart for me to do it and I strive to be obedient.  I started this blog to uplift and encourage others who go through the same struggles that I go through and to help you know that you are not alone.  I have accepted that in order to do that, I will have to be “transparent” in a sense, so that others can see themselves through my experiences.  I want to give a voice to those who don’t yet have the strength to speak for themselves.

It’s been 4 ½ years since that initial diagnosis, and by the Grace of God I have been symptom free ever since.  I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, but I know that whatever it has in store, that I am equipped to handle it.   I wanted to end this post by sharing with you all what going through this experience has taught me.

– I have learned to be a little kinder to people.  To be a little more forgiving.  You truly have no idea what someone may be facing personally.  Give people the benefit of the doubt as often as you can.

– I have learned that patience is indeed a virtue.  Not everything in life comes to you exactly when you want it to.  Things take time.  Relax.  Everything happens exactly when it should happen.

– I have learned to let go of those things that I cannot control.   When you are told that tomorrow you could wake up and not be able to see or walk, you gain a new perspective on life.  I only focus on what I can control today (things like my happiness, eating right, exercise and getting enough sleep).  I let tomorrow worry about itself.

– I have learned to laugh as often and I can, and never to allow life’s issues to “stress me out.”  At the end of the day, nothing is worth sacrificing my health and my happiness.  It truly isn’t that serious.

– I have learned to go after my dreams today, because you really don’t know if tomorrow is promised. You only have this moment.  Make the most of it.

And most importantly, I have learned that God really won’t put more on you than you can bear.  That he is who he says he is.  And that he is with you through every single storm of your life.  He never changes.  And every test and trial is an opportunity for him to show his greatness through you.

You can’t have a testimony without a TEST.  And this is my life’s test.  My goal is to forever share my testimony of living my best life, no matter what obstacles have been placed in my path, and to do it with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

And to my fellow struggler’s, know that you are NEVER alone.  No matter what your cross is to bear, you have God and you have me here rooting for you!  You will be victorious!

 

Be Blessed!

Quote of the Night

I saw this and just had to share it.  Truer words have never been spoken.  Read it, receive it and believe it.

“Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about, and what to get rid of. And you know when it’s time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it’s never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one.” ~Nike

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“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s 94th Birthday today, I decided to discuss one of of my favorite Nelson Mandela quotes regarding the impossible.

There have been many challenges i’ve faced in my life that I felt were impossible for me to conquer.  Some were work related, some health related and some just personal goals that I thought I would only accomplish “In my dreams.”

I want to share my absolute favorite “Impossible” scenario with you.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Boyz II Men more than popsicles and red velvet cupcakes (in other words….a whole lot).  I’ve been a fan since the tender age of eight years old, and it was always a dream of mine to one day be able to meet my favorite member, Shawn Patrick Stockman (or Shawn Patrick as I affectionately call him).

In my mind, the opportunity of ever being able to meet and be conversational with him was impossible.  He was a celebrity who lived the celebrity life, and I was just Candice….a girl from Maryland, who loves to laugh at corny jokes and make youtube videos.  The closest I thought I would ever get to him acknowledging my presence was possibly a sidewards glance at a concert.

Years and years went by, and I never got an opportunity to even be in his vicinity.  I wrote the  fan letters (Dear Shawn Patrick….your my favorite! Please write back! xoxoxo, Candice.)   I joined the fan club.  I wore the t-shirts and bought every cd.  But he still didn’t know me from any other random person on the street.  It seemed my dream of meeting him was indeed impossible.

Now, I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details (because I could talk about this forever), but with a little persistence and hard work,  the impossible happened, and happened more than once.  Twenty years later (yes, I said TWENTY years later),  not only has Shawn Patrick smiled and waved at me from stage, but he also knows my name (yay!) and seems genuinely happy to see me when I see him at a concert.  And then this here picture happened and I darn near peed my pants! (Don’t we look like a Christmas card??)  This picture is the perfect representation of what I thought would only be a dream “coming true.”

And as crazy as it sounds, being able to have this “impossible dream” become a reality helped me shift my mindset in other areas.  If I could meet Shawn Patrick, what else could I accomplish that seemed impossible?  What other dreams could I make a reality, if only I tried?

I truly believe that there is no limit on what we can do and accomplish in life as long as we believe that we can do it and put in hard work to achieve it (see yesterday’s post about “Just doing it” if you need a reminder.)

The biggest obstacle to overcome is mental.  When faced with the impossible, you have to find the inner strength and drive to make it possible.  You have to find that inner voice that reminds  you that you can do anything that you set your mind to, and remind yourself that anything seems impossible if you never try to accomplish it.

And for those people in your life who try to plant seeds of doubt and uncertainty in your mind when you are trying to make things happen, rehearse in your mind the three quotes I hold dear regarding the impossible:

“The person who says it’s impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” ~Unknown

“Impossible? Things are happening everyday.” ~Cinderella

“I am the greatest.  I said this even before I knew I was.  Don’t tell me it’s impossible.  Don’t tell me i’m not the greatest.  I’m the double greatest. ~Muhammad Ali

And repeat this to yourself daily:

“I will get there.  I will get there somehow.  Cross that river.  Nothing’s stopping me now.  I will get through the night. And make it through to the other side.  Get there.  Get there.” ~ Lyrics to “I Will Get There” by Boyz II Men. (Buy their NEW CD TWENTY in stores now! http://www.boyziimen.com) **I couldn’t resist, lol.**

What impossible in your life will you work on making possible today?  The world and it’s many possibilities are waiting!!

Just Do It!

I would like to start off this post by saying that I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking things through before acting on a plan,  and making a list and checking it twice (especially if you are trying to determine who is naughty or nice…just sayin).

I do, however, think it’s wrong to think so long and so hard about doing something that you forget one important thing…… actually doing it.

And that is the story of my life.

I can analyze the heck of out a new idea or something that I really think I should try.  I consider all of the things that could go right or wrong,  the best way to go about implementing the idea, the pros and cons of the plan.  I can spend days and days, and weeks and weeks on end “thinking” about the next action to take.

Take this blog for example.  I had the idea to share my thoughts via a blog around this time a year ago.  I thought about what I would write, who would read it, and what I could say to help other people on their own journey.

And here we are almost a year later and I am JUST now getting around to posting.  Tsk, Tsk Candice.  Tsk Tsk.

I learned the power of “Just Doing It” not just from the Nike commercials, but really by observing a Sorority sister of mine.   She is the type of person who gets things done.  She makes a decision that something needs to be implemented and immediately begins working on it.

I used to stare at her in awe and ask “How did you do that? What about all the things to think about? What about all of the things to consider??  What if this goes wrong?  What if that goes wrong?  She laughed at me and said “Candice, if I spend all my time “thinking and considering” I won’t have any energy left to DO IT!

And boy is she right.  What matters at the end of the day is not what you think about doing, but what you actually do.  Thoughts and planning do nothing for you if they are not followed up by implementation and work.

When you look at people who have made a significant impact on the world or in their lives, you know them not by the idea they had, but about the WORK and ACTION they put forth to make a dream a reality.  I wouldn’t be glued to my iphone right now if Steve Jobs had only thought about creating Apple.  The way we communicate with others has been changed because of his ACTION!

The Bible says “Faith Without Works is Dead.”  I think that is a very important verse that people really don’t consider when they are on the journey to good health.  Thinking about eating fruits and vegetables don’t give you the vitamins and nutrients they provide.  Eating them does.  Thinking about going to the gym and planning what exercises you are going to do don’t increase your endurance and help you lose weight, actually GOING to the gym does that.  ACTION is where its at my friends.

So what plans and goals are you going to ACT on pursuing today?  And whatever it is that you decide to do, good for you!  The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

Have a blessed one!

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