And then there was today.

Life has been a whirlwind lately. I completed training at Barre N9ne Studio and have become an instructor, which I absolutely and completely LOVE. I’ve been trucking through school feeling more and more confident and happy with every clinic. My patients are getting better from my treatments, and it’s really just an amazing thing to be able to do. I’ve signed up for my first two board exams, one which I will take on Monday, and I have been trying to study as much as I can through all this other craziness going on. I’ve had my times of completely loving everything going on, just feeling so thankful, so happy, so content, so me. And if I’m being honest, I’ve had my times of thinking, “Oh my god, I’m so busy, I’m never going to get everything done, I don’t even have a minute to relax..” Let’s just say life can get overwhelming, even when you are doing just what you love, it can still feel like too much at times. The time, especially over the past couple of months has just been flying. One day ends, and the next day begins, and so it goes on.

And then today things halted.

I got some tragic news that a great friend of my younger brother, a person that has been close to my family for years, a person who’s smile was so infectious, and spirit was always high and happy, had died in a horrible plane accident. It is just completely devastating.

And everything just stopped. I heard the news from my mom driving home from teaching a class. And I just could not believe what I was hearing. Tears flowed for him and his family, for my little brother who has already had so much loss in his life. I got back to my house and i just felt stuck. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Nothing else seemed to be important at the moment that was so important just hours before. My studying could wait, the laundry didn’t need to be folded yet. I just had to sit and think.

Later in the afternoon we had my Grampy’s birthday to go to. I was feeling anxious about going, because I thought I would cry more and be upset in front of everyone when I saw them. But it ended up being just what I needed. Seeing my beautiful family just gave me an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and love. We all had the loss of my sister Becca ten years ago, it was horrible and we’ll always miss her, but we still have each other and the love between us. Everyone had great love for our friend who passed, but even without words and just knowing we were together and are there for each other brought me new feelings of love, appreciation and peace. 

My heart goes out to our friend and his family. It’s such a hard thing to go through to lose someone close. Life is so uncertain.

Take the time today and everyday to be so thankful and happy for the people you love and those who love you. Hug them and show your love.

 

Summer 2012

School starts tomorrow.

This summer rocked…

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I’m just feeling so happy and thankful for all the wonderful, loving people in my life. For feeling that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. And for being the happiest, healthiest me I can be ;)

Cheers to an awesome summer and to making the rest of this year one to remember

Don’t Fight It…

I’ve been ‘amping it up’ for a little over a week now and I have found out that it’s really just what I needed! For the last couple of months I have been struggling a bit.

Struggling to stick to my number….mostly on the weekends.

Struggling to be at peace with the amount of exercise I do.

And mostly just struggling to get out of my head, and stop being so hard on myself!

It amazed me so much how quickly these things were either fixed or made better by just a few tweaks to my routine.

Sticking to my number during the summer had become harder than I thought. I found myself ‘saving up’ for calories at the end of the day for dinner with George, alcohol and dessert. I thought this was great,  I could still be at my number and have all the things I wanted. Yet, I was going to bed feeling full almost every night, and feeling guilty about it. In my #ampitup fashion, I decided not only to start being more strict with my number, but to try and drop it down a bit. I went from 1450 to 1400. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but after using the food log for a year now, I think every calorie counts. I was so surprised that by lowering my number, I was actually eating more. I finally got over the hump of choosing either dessert OR alcohol (or both on some days when I felt I needed/really wanted it). I am now eating a bigger breakfast and focusing on all the healthy, real food I am eating during the day. As my besties say, the food log should be used as a tool, and not as something that completely rules your life, or stresses you out. I’m finding it much easier than I thought sticking to my new number. I’m not going to bed full, I’m not drinking every night, and overall, I’m just feeling better about eating in general! And I think that’s awesome…especially since I am still enjoying one of my favorite parts of the day…dessert! And for dessert I have been a bit addicted to watermelon and Edy’s Slow Churned Chocolate Ice Cream, so refreshing, and about 150 calories for a half cup of each, perfect!

I felt like I had a breakthrough with the food log, after feeling like I was fighting it for a while, it was nice to actually embrace it. And once I stopped fighting it, everything really fell into place.

So that got me thinking about this healthy lifestyle and about life in general. There are always going to be things in life that we don’t love. We may not love our job, or a person, to exercise or eat healthy foods while avoiding the junk. But if we are always fighting these things in our life, where is that going to get us? It’s just going to make us upset. It’s just going to make us wish for other things while ignoring the good.

So don’t fight it, embrace it.

Embracing the food log for me, changed things almost instantly. I finally stopped thinking about missing out on the cocktail if it was a night that I wanted a bigger dessert. And you know what, I enjoyed the heck out of my yummy dessert, didn’t miss the drink, and went to bed feeling great. By focusing how good I feel while eating nutritious foods my body needs, by staying to my number and knowing I can do this, by skipping that uncomfortable over-stuffed feeling when eating to much, I am embracing the food log. I’m finding the balance I needed, and I’m finding it easy, and doable. And I’ve also accepted the fact that it won’t always be perfect, and that’s ok too.

What can you stop fighting in your life? Try to embrace it, let go of the struggle, and just rock it :)

 

Amp It Up

 

I can’t quite believe it, but it’s been a year since my first class at Barre N9ne studio! August 1st will mark the one year ‘barre-versary’ of starting my own 60-Day Challenge, that turned into a new, healthier lifestyle I still keep today. The end of my summer semester at NESA is also coming to a close in a few weeks, and my four year wedding anniversary is a month from today! What a wonderful time of year!

George and I have been going to Maine in August every year since before we got married. We always go to Kennebunkport and stay at our favorite B&B. It’s such a special time for us to be with each other and just get away from it all. Laugh, play scrabble, (attempt to) sleep in, eat and drink more than we should, but just focus on fun and our love for each other. Last year we decided to extend our vacation and add two nights in another part of Maine. Last year we travelled back to Boothbay where we had stayed together a few years before, when we were just dating, and not even thinking about marriage. As a matter of fact, we talked about how George never wanted to get married or have kids….but that’s a different story ;) This year we’re hitting up Kennebunkport first, where we will eat at our favorite restaurant for our anniversary, then go further up in Maine to Georgetown, where we are so excited to try out a new B&B that got rave reviews on Trip Advisor. We are excited!!

When we went to Maine last year, I was about 3 weeks into the challenge. I had already seen changes, and had changed my eating and exercise habits. I had a little freakout about going ‘off the wagon’ a bit, but got through it, and got right back into my challenge as soon as I got back.

My plan for this year is to be mindful while I am there, but I’m not going to use my food log. I’m doing this for myself, to take a break, not think about it, and be happy about the healthy changes I will make, even though it won’t be perfect. And for George, who puts up with my over-thinking a tend to about the food log, more than I should. He deserves a break to!

In preparation for this, and to be honest, to try and help ward away any feelings of guilt or that ‘F’ word…I have decided to Amp It Up until we leave on August 22. And I’m including George…for some of it anyway. Here’s my plan :)

I have been lax with the food log over the summer. Doing fine during the week, but then sliding more than I should over the weekend. Not horrible, but I know I can do better, without making it feel too hard, or like a diet. So for the next month, I’m going to stick to my number as much as I can. Some things are out of my control, but at those times, I’m going to focus on healthy choices, and trust myself, instead of using it as a pass to eat whatever I want. I’m also going to focus on eating more…meaning healthier foods, and less ‘saving up’ for ice cream and liquor (aw, man! hehe). But I think this will be so helpful, and let me appreciate treats more, instead of making it an every day thing. I think I can finally do this!

My workouts will basically stay the same, usually averaging about 5 barre classes a week. But I want to amp up my running, and get 3-4 a week. I’m also adding in daily abs. And George is doing it too. We are starting tonight.. :)

I have been so good about drinking water for a month now, and I think I can finally call myself a water drinker! I am going to keep up with this, whether I like it or not.

And the last part of my Amp It Up, which might seem contradictory is to not be so hard on myself and really to just live this lifestyle.  I can get into the habit of never thinking I’m doing good enough, and I really need to get over that! Life is about living and enjoying. Yes that includes getting the benefit of hard work and diligence, but for being happy with that and trying to get over the always wanting more.

I’m so exciting to do this. I know it’s just the first day, but I’m already feeling a renewed happiness with the challenge, and it just feels so doable.

I started out strong this morning. The picture above is from the end of my run this morning, that I got up extra early to do. It made me feel so energized today, and ready to take on whatever comes my way. I was also rewarded with seeing a baby seal! Unfortunately you can’t see it in the picture, but that cute little head is there!

 

 

Time for fun and relaxation

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I went into this summer thinking it was going to be all about school and clinic. Sure, it pretty much sucks driving about 15 hours a week back and forth to school, especially with the horrendous traffic that’s been going on. But clinic is awesome, and my other classes aren’t as labor-intensive as I had thought. Almost being done with two full years as a grad student, and listening to friends talk about how tired, burnt out, and unhealthy they feel, if I am completely honest with myself, I really don’t feel that way at all! I feel great!

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I honestly believe the key to my success is really staying true to who I am throughout this rigorous process of becoming an acupuncturist. As I write this, I’m hoping I’m not jinxing myself as I go into my last two semesters which will include taking the boards and dealing with licensing…

Many of my classmates are all about school. So much studying and always going for that A. I have always done well, and feel like I have a good base education, but an extra 2 hours of studying to make sure I get an A. No thanks ;) I think it’s because with acupuncture I’ll be learning my entire life, building and changing how I want to treat, etc. I don’t feel as if I have to learn everything rightnow, and this has been so helpful. Also, learning in clinic by doing and really practicing has been making me feel so much more ready for this life I’m creating.

I also believe keeping a workout routine is so important. Especially when you are busy! There is always time to workout. Even for just 20 minutes a day if that’s all you can do. I love working out, and have been happy to be able to keep my rigorous 6 day a week workout schedule. I think this is the reason I am one of the least tired, most energetic people in my class :)

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So…the fun and relaxation part. In part of my quest to not burn myself out and be all about school, I make sure to have fun and relax every week. Even if it’s just lounging and watching tv, or going for a drive with George. It is so important to do every day if I can, but at the very least every week. A lot of acupuncturists tell us students that it took them a year to recover from school. Really?! That doesn’t sound very fun! To avoid that fate, I believe it’s so important to have fun while in school. Ok, living near the beach and having besties with a lake house definitely helps. But if you have a busy life, whether it be work or school, please take the time to relax AND have fun:)

Kind of all over the place with this post today, but u had such fun last weekend at the lake with friends. And Thursday I didn’t have school, so spent some time at the beach. And I realized this whole summer has been so much fun even with 5 days a week at school. Seeing many of my classmates dragging made me further realize how I am not letting school take over my life, and I’m proud of that!

If you’re in a busy situation, don’t use it as an excuse. Make time for fun and relaxation, and for what you love. Because doing as much as you can of what you love is really what it’s all about, right?!

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Just Love

Before I start this post, here is a quick (long overdue!) update of clinic and this semester :)

Now in my eighth week of clinic, I am just completely amazed at how easy the confidence came and how much I just LOVE it. With every shift, with every patient, I’m learning so much, and feeling like a real acupuncturist! It is such a great feeling knowing you are right where you are supposed to be! I still have so much to learn, but I have finally made the mental shift that I ABSOLUTELY CAN DO THIS! Sometimes I have to remind myself of this, but that’s ok too. I’m learning to trust myself. I’m enjoying the challenges, and learning from them. I’m also enjoying the times when I explain something that I had no idea about just a short time ago. I’m loving the progress I’m making….and that I’m nearing the light at the end of the long tunnel of grad school. It’s been super busy, but I will try to update more regularly! :)

‘Just Love’

Sometimes it’s hard to do something so simple. To just love.

I myself love lots of things. My husband, my dogs, family, friends, Barre n9ne, living near the ocean….really too much to list! I consider myself a passionate, caring person, with so much love to give. Even if the love is not returned, even if the person doesn’t really deserve it.

I work hard to find the happiness in everything I do. Even if it’s not completely enjoyable, even if I have to ‘shift my focus’ and look very hard to find it.

So, what’s the problem?

Sometimes I find it so hard to just love myself.

Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy.

Back in August of 2011, I participated in the Barre N9ne 60-Day Challenge. I followed the challenge as best I could and ended up making it a healthy lifestyle change that I plan to keep forever. I transformed my body. I went from a size 6 to a size 0. I am so proud of my hard work, and happy that almost a year after I started, my new smaller clothes still fit. And I feel strong and healthy.

This Challenge totally changed my life. It taught me so much, made me into a healthier, happier person and helped with body issues that I have struggled with for years.

But I am still struggling.

I’m finding it hard to let go of wanting to be perfect. It’s hard for me to ‘just love’ myself, all of myself for who I am today.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this for a while now. I see the pictures, I see the amazing changes, but it’s hard for me to fully accept that I’m fine just the way I am.

I find myself wanting more.

But why?

This is a time in my life when I should just embrace everything about my life. I need to just love, to absolutely love this body that I work so hard for every day. I need to take my own advice and ‘shift my focus’.

And I am actively trying doing this. Instead of worrying and obsessing that my stomach isn’t flat enough, or another imperfection. I’m looking at my strong, beautiful body. My arms are toned, my back is strong. My thighs aren’t super skinny, but they are strong, and they are 4.5 inches smaller than they were last year! Though my body may not be perfect, I have to let this go, because it never will be, and that is not the point.

We have to enjoy our bodies for what they are, for what we can do with them, for what we can work our butts off to mold them into. Because if we don’t enjoy them, then really, what’s the point??

I was reading a book the other day called Being Perfect By Anna Quindlen, where she says that trying to be perfect is like carrying around a backpack full of bricks.

It’s unnecessary, it’s silly, and it’s just going to give you a sore back!

So this is me being completely honest. I am putting down that backpack full of bricks.

I am embracing who I am today.

And I will ‘just love’ myself everyday.

I know this is easier said than done. But I know if I keep trying, and keep working on it, I can get past these issues.

If you have similar struggles, I urge you to do the same. Let go of the need to perfect. Try to be the best YOU you can be.

I love my friends so much and I see them as beautiful people inside and out. I don’t see any of their imperfections. So why be so hard on myself? It’s silly, and it’s a waste of time. And I’m done with it.

It’s time to move forward and love my entire self.

Just Love.

Thanks Becca.

After finishing my first two clinics (!!) this week, and getting ready for my third clinic tomorrow, I am already seeing changes in myself. Some are small, some are larger, some are small steps that will build and help me become better. I am working so hard to trust my knowledge and myself, let go of fears and insecurities and just go for it.

Something that I keep hearing in my head, or keep repeating to myself is “Thanks Becca.”

For those of you who don’t know me very well, Becca is my younger sister that passed away almost ten years ago. A few days before my 16th birthday, way back in 1999, my sister Becca, 14 at the time was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue form of cancer. From the start, we all knew the prognosis wasn’t good, with a 20% survival rate, it was too scary to even think about what could happen. Almost immediately after the diagnosis, Becca started treatment at the Jimmy Fund Clinic in Boston. Over the next 3 years, she was in and out of the hospital. Responding well to treatment, hair falling out, feeling sick, feeling better, getting clear scans, hair growing back, cancer coming back…hope, dread, happiness and fear.

It was such a strange (for lack of a better word) time of my life. Especially now, being older, realizing how young Becca was at the time, how young I was at the time. Besides Becca, I also have an older brother, a younger brother and two younger sisters. With my brother and I being the older siblings we got more responsibility during that time. I gratefully took it, feeling like I could do something to help and control, when there wasn’t much else in my life that I could. Also, being a teenager, it gave me more freedom to do things I probably shouldn’t have been doing.

The years passed by with some family trips that we really couldn’t afford, but took anyway to have the time and memories together as a complete family. Becca looked beautiful at her Sophomore Semi-formal, and Junior prom, but never made it to the senior prom. I graduated high school and started my freshman year at Saint Anselm College in 2002. Looking back now, it seems like a different life.

Her journey ended about 7:30 the night of September 30, 2002. All 8 of us, just our immediately family were with her as she took her last breath. My gram, aunts and uncle leaving the room just minutes before. I will never forget that time, down to every last detail, and even now, almost ten years later, it brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.

Thinking about Becca being so young- 14 seems like a baby to me now, being 28 myself- it just makes me sad. But it also makes me so motivated, so happy to be alive, and just a real need/want to live the heck out of this life I have been given, and to rock it.

Being where I am in life now, so far from the 16 year old, trying to be an irresponsible teenager and a responsible sibling at the same time. Far from the college student, having a hard time with the loss, but dealing with it as best I could. And even far from the college grad, the time in my life when I met George and slowly found my way to where I am now.

Everything that happens in life has a purpose. Obviously I would trade all the good in my life to have Becca back with me, but looking back at every part of my life, it was Becca that got me to where I am today.

I will always be sad at Becca’s passing, but the sadness has changed and turned into strength.

I will always long to have her back with me, but the longing has turned to knowing that she is with me, all the time.

It saddens me that she never got to experience so much life has to offer, but it drives me to live my life as best I can with her in mind.

So thanks Becca.

Thanks for helping me to become the best me I can be. For leading with your own strength, beauty and happiness. For never leaving me but helping me and guiding me. I love you, and know you are with me every step of the way.

A Little Pre-Clinic Interview

On the eve of my life as just a student is turning into my life as an intern/student, I thought it would be fun to do a mini interview with myself. I think it will be fun to answer these same questions throughout my internship experience.

What are you looking forward to most in clinic?

I am so excited to help people, see progress and improve my skills. The hands-on part of my training so far has been more piecemeal than clinic will be. Learning skills throughout the past two years, then bringing them together in my Intro to Clinic class has been great, but I need something more constant which I will get with my clinic schedule. It will be great to use my skills for treatments three times a week, where I could see as many as 12 patients per week! I think this fact alone will help so much with improving my skills, feeling more confident and actually seeing results! In summary, I’m looking forward to feeling more and more like a real acupuncturist!

What makes you the most nervous about clinic?

I am most nervous that my skills won’t be good enough. I struggle with point location and being confident that I’m in the right location when I needle. I know where to be careful, and I know being a little bit off usually isn’t a big deal, but this point location thing has been stressing me out since I first started learning it. I know I have improved immensely over the last two years, and I know I will improve even more during this next year, but that is what makes me most nervous.

What are you the most excited for clinic? 

I am so excited to reach the next step of, for lack of a better word, the metamorphosis I have been going through over the past few years. Becoming a confident, smart, skilled, happy acupuncturist. A real adult! All these steps on my path and I’m getting closer to the top. Starting with signing up for classes, progressing through the program. Along with finding love, peace, happiness and health at Barre N9ne Studio and finally getting the body and health I have been striving for over the years. And now starting my first round of clinics. It’s all getting so real, and though I am nervous, I am so excited.

What are your strengths as in intern?

My eagerness to be perfect learn is a huge strength of mine. Although the trying to be perfect part can also be a weakness, as it makes me frustrated when I can’t do something as well as I think I should, it also pushes me to be the best I can be, and to keep trying until I get it.

I’m really good with time! As a rule, I always plan to get where I need to be at least 15 minutes early, to help make sure I am never late. I hate being late! I am also very good with time management, something that many of my classmates struggle with. I like to get things done and be efficient, this will help me in the clinic setting, and also in the future with my own practice.

I have done great in school since I started, so I must know what I’m doing, right??

I’m great at following directions! I hate getting in trouble, so I always follow the rules ;) This will be a strength because it’s part of what we are graded on, and also very important, as we are working under someone else’s license.

Myself! This is me. I am an acupuncturist. I can do this, and rock it! I am a happy, loving and caring person. And that is going to take me far. Trusting this and being all that I can be might be challenging and first but I will get better and better.

*I’m glad I asked this question. I have the tendency to focus on the bad (or my version of bad, read imperfect), instead of remembering all the good stuff.

What does your schedule look like? Including all the workouts you want to do…

Even though I complain about it sometimes, I really thrive on being busy and trying to keep everything in check. My Barre N9ne classes may seen excessive to some, but honestly, it is my haven and I absolutely love them. That said, here is a breakdown of my schedule, and why one of my mantras for this summer is to “Power Through”

Monday: Clinic 8:30-1:30, Long, Lean Legs Express 5:30, TFFR 6:15

Tuesday: Barre N9ne Method 6:00am, Biochem 9-12, Intro to Japanese Clinic 2-4:10

Wednesday: Clinic 8:30-1:30, B9 Cardio 5:30, Barre Fusion 6:30

Thursday: Run 6:30am, Patient-Practitioner Relationship 10:00am, Western Path and Pharm 1:00pm (Sometimes take Legs/Fusion 5:30 and 6:30 at B9 instead of going Wed)

Friday: Barre N9ne Method 6:00am OR morning rundate. Clinic 1:00pm-6:00pm

Saturday: Barre N9ne Method 8:30, and hopefully a run/rundate. Try to finish up homework/paperwork for following week.

Sunday: Nursery at church every other sunday, rest. Beach!

Doable right?? And time to relax, and get a tan?

What do you like to treat best?

Stress. With my little experience actually treating people in school, stress is always fun. Most people you meet have some sort of stress in their life and to be able to give a treatment that lets them check out for a while and really just relax and rest is so nice to see. Sometimes it’s hard to just stop (see above lol), but being able to lie down, without doing anything is great.

What  would you like to learn?

I would love to start to really know how to treat different problems. I do in theory now, but not as much as I will over the next few months.

I want to be better at answering questions people have about acupuncture and Chinese medicine and be confident in what I’m saying.

I want to become confident and painless in my needling technique, and start to know that I am at the right point.

Is there anything else you are dying know? Or any other questions that would be good on this list?? :)

I’m excited to see my progression through clinic, and to share my experiences with you!