Grinding It Out


So I’ve been going to the gym at a more consistent clip.
Today the gym was essentially empty— it’s usually a little more crowded limiting what I can actually do— but today I went from three sets of exercises to six, which felt phenomenal. 

Got that goodie good lifting in

Long Way to Go

I need to set a goal of going 6 days a week as Erik of Beyond the Todo List did when reassessing his life. He said that it isn’t a hard goal and that he set it high so that he is driven to go more than if he would have said 3 days, like I do.

I’m going to implement this and see how it goes. I’ll report back with my progress.



Back at It, For Reals

Cat fitness


So after all the lip-service and the declarations of wanting to get back to where I was, I am finally back.

What happened isn’t insignificant: basically since 2014 I was spiraling into the breakdown that finally resulted this spring. It got really, really bad. So bad I almost didn’t make it out. I was literally about to end my life one night. The peace I felt during that period of suicidality was relief. But then I got extremely nervous. I promised someone I wouldn’t hurt her daughter again if we just happened to reconnect. And I felt if I did that, it would just prove to her that I wasn’t actually better than I had been 20 years ago when we were kids.

So I took the necessary steps and got help. Got a new medication added to my regime. And after not really leaving the apartment for three months, I noticed a change.

Quitting School and Going Back

I basically couldn’t finish the semester. Every step outside was an anxiety attack. My Facebook posts grew dark. I started a private blog for my friend’s mom that was truly bizarre and cringeworthy. Everything was magnified. I felt like pure shit, almost daily, and would cry for no damn reason, all the time, intermittenly. If it wasn’t about the love of my life, it was about the my high school best friend, the imminent death of my mother, you name it, it became a depressive obsession. I couldn’t finish a semester in which I didn’t know when I’d end up wailing out of the blue let alone go to the gym. Think I went to the gym once or twice during this period and I really didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy school and I never wanted to leave my apartment.

My apartment became a mess. I never left it. I only went out to get food otherwise I just couldn’t do anything. It wasn’t a matter of willing myself to fight the blues. I was literally very unhealthy, mentally sick, and I was about to go under.

I Never Forgot I Was a Warrior


Eventually, I felt great. It took some time. It started with feeling less anxious and depressed. I started to think and obsess less over my past. I started want to do things. I started cleaning the place up. Then one day I thought, I need to head back to the gym, no matter that it’s Fitness 19. I just need to workout.

And so I swallowed my pride and went back to Fitness 19. My excuse about the type of gym mattering didn’t hold water. I went and kilt it. I wanted to start off slowly and work my way back to some kind of rhythm but it felt so good to lift I just went all in. I only stayed for 20-25 minutes. I have been going for 30 or so minutes and will increase it to 45 soon.

I have gone three days a week for two weeks. I still have energy to get things done after I workout. I am headed back to Pitt this fall. I am a warrior. I have been through too much in my life to quit, not now. Not ever.


The Importance of A Good Chair and Sleep

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I think I mentioned in the last post that I got an ergonomic chair.

I’m a desk jockey. I write code. I go to school to learn how to write better code. I sit all day, if I am not careful.

Before the ergonomic chair, my hip flexors were constantly tight, my knees hurt because my back was in knots because my hip flexors were tight and it was causing all sorts of trouble.

I bought the chair a couple weeks ago and have been using it for close to two weeks. I have to say, it has been a great investment in my health.

Not just because I am getting older, but that’s part of it.

I went to Wright’s Gym on Friday. While walking down the hill to catch the bus, I noticed I was practically pain free. My knees didn’t hurt. My hip flexors didn’t make my back stiffen up.



Turning on Hulkmode

When I went to the gym, it was like I had never been out of it. The focus. The lack of pain. I hit my stride and kept going. I was over the moon. I could have kept going but didn’t want to force anything. I did 5 exercises for 35+ minutes.

Another thing that happened was I went to bed earlier. I felt tired when I woke up but I had gotten enough sleep. I had clear focus and didn’t fatigue as quickly as I would have if I didn’t sleep well.

Get your sleep, kiddos.

I can’t wait to go back on Thursday!



F*ck Resolutions. Just Hard Work.


I don’t do resolutions. Usually I fail at them because they are broad, not SMART (for a primer on S.M.A.R.T. goals, check out this video), and I lack the discipline to complete them because I don’t have a plan.

I have a plan now. I list all my goals in Todoist under the GOAL project. This is separate from my FITNESS project though they coexist together. I make them small and and measurable: How much weight do I want to lose this week? How many times do I want to go to the gym this week? Do I want to meal prep this week? What do I want to cook this week for meal prep? And so on.

Badass Feelings = Addiction to the Gym


Like I’ve said many times before, the gym you choose ultimately affects your results. If you don’t like going, don’t like the atmosphere or the people, you’re not going to show up.

Wright’s Gym is the gym for me. It’s gritty and anti-L.A. Fitness and so I appreciate that aesthetic. I’m there to work not ogle guys staring at their pumps in the mirror or be outshined by chicks in skimpy outifts working their 5 lb dumbbells bent over for everyone to see. You don’t get that vibe at Wright’s and so despite it being a haul, I am going to continue to go there. Thursday and Saturday, Fitness 19 on Sundays.

Staying Accountable


On a four day streak at MFP. If it wasn’t for MFP, I think I would eat way too much at certain times of the month than others. So this helps me stay accountable and on top of what I put in my mouth. MyFitnessPal offers the best database but some people swear by LoseIt!. Chose whatever just make sure you’re logging.

Final Thoughts

If you set goals that you can attain, small, incremental goals throughout the year, you’ll have weight loss. Motivation and knowing what works for you is the hardest part of the battle. So let’s get started.

Xmas Lifting with Mom

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So I went home for Xmas. The sobering realization that I had gained some weight back was evident in my mother’s disapproval of everything I put in my mouth, though I kept well below my calorie intake for someone my size, in fact, hardly reaching the limit (I never do, though). Because I am 6’3 and weigh as much as I do, I need to eat much more than my mother just to maintain my weight, let alone lose any. She doesn’t get that, though, because to her she and I are clones, having the same illnesses and predisposition to sicknesses and disease. We are totally different. I guess some of that is her wishing I was her “real” daughter and not adopted, however that is beyond the scope of this post.

Bad knees and weight gain meant that I wasn’t able to do or fit into things I used to. Mom found some old pictures and said, “Look how thin you were,” which bothered the shit out of me. I was 3o in those pictures and just coming off a 140 lbs weight loss which gave me so much confidence. I gained 80 back after moving and quitting smoking and less frequent gym visits. I lost 73 in 2013 and gained that back this year, more than likely, by diving head first into coding. I’m not the only geek with this problem.

But hearing my mom say that about me from 7 years ago made me realize I needed to get back to there. I wasn’t at my goal weight then but just about to break into the 200s for the first time since I was 16. I plateaued, and then the rest is history, as they say.


Working out with mom

Mom invited me to workout with her at 7am (!!!) at Gold’s Gym in Harrisburg. I got up, reluctantly, after traveling into the area, about 5 hours from Pittsburgh by train. Got up, showered and we went out.

I did leg press, which I didn’t know how to lock, and became increasingly afraid of my legs being crushed by the weights. Thank god their was a guy deadlifting next to me. He helped.

I did triceps pushdowns and another thing I don’t remember. The fun part? Encouraging mom to get sweaty.



Holy Sh*t. I’ve Let Myself Go.

So I went back to Wright’s Gym, arguably the most badass gym in Pittsburgh. I was going to Fitness 19, which, no offense to them, was wimpy compared to Wright’s.


I walked back in, was greeted by Rick, the guy at the front desk, with a warm smile and a welcome back. He gave me the lowdown on the new treadmills and told me to pick up my new card when I was finished (I had lost my wallet a couple months ago which had the card in it).

As I walked back to their Olympic sized weight room, David Wright, the gym’s owner, came out to me smiling, sweaty. He greeted me and gave me a big hug even though my sweatshirt smelled terrible because I sit it out to dry and didn’t unroll the hood (terrible smell that I didn’t smell until I got on the bus. By then it was too late). We chatted. He asked me how my ride over was. That’s the thing. I am a fat girl. Here is this really fit guy who teaches Israeli Krav Maga to cops hugging me and welcoming me back to his gym. Insane.

I stopped going because of the ride. And the ride yesterday was excruciating. Two hours. I know how to save time now, but I forgot because it had been a whole year since I went there.

I truly missed that badass feeling I got walking out of there. Nothing kept me going to Fitness 19. I never had enough time. The equipment was lame (mostly machines). When I got to Wright’s yesterday I was really excited to actually step foot in a gym again.

Buying a Mac and going head down, tunes up, diving into code, while really good for my career and school and public image (I am getting into all sorts of things in the area because I am vocal about my journey) was terrible for gym time. And working out yesterday I realized just how out of shape I had become.


That 73 lbs I lost at Wright’s 2 years ago? Probably gained about 50 of it back. I worked on my triceps in the dip machine and realized I lost considerable gains. I could only do 140 lbs instead of my previous 160. I did triceps pushdowns at 120 lbs. I did two sets of  8 and one of 5 because my upper body was in fatigue mode.

My back has been really bad since I started coding. I sit a lot. And because of this my hip flexors are really tight which cause spasms in my lower back. I was so tight yesterday while working out I could only do two things before I bounced. My whole body is sore today. My lower back is better but only because I exercised it. It still hurts but not as bad.

I really need to go tomorrow and I am. I go in the afternoon to take the express bus into town and then out to Crafton. One day recovery and back at it.


So My Old Mama Kicks My Ass at Fitness

So, it really took my 69-year-old mother to put me back on track again.

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My mom can get lower than your mom.

My mom hits the gym 4 days a week. She is overweight and has lost considerable size by eating less and working out. She does Zumba, lifts weights, (she even SQUATS, yo), walks, etc. I told her I ate two sandwiches. She said that was too much bread for her. I said because she’s diabetic she can only eat one slice. She admonished me and said, “It’s not that. I have lost all this weight and I don’t want to gain it back. I am eating less.” Whoa. If that’s not a wake-up call I don’t know what is.


So I went to the store yesterday. I have stopped ordering out. I am buying Diet Pop again. I don’t care how tired I am after school– that’s what meal prep is for. I meal prepped last week and will do it tomorrow– the longest I ever meal prepped in a row was one week. I NEED to do it or I get tempted to slide into bad habits.

When I lost 140 lbs years ago by sheer will and determination and eating healthy that really inspired the people around me. I made hard decisions. I said no to a lot of stuff. I don’t know what happened in the meantime, but I have to come back, for my sanity. I started my mom on this path back then and now she’s ahead and that doesn’t sit well with me. I need to focus and get back to me.


I am returning to Wright’s Gym as this coming semester will have four days in a row of no school. I will attend Fitness 19 on Sundays.

Back to who I used to be. Starting now.

Pretty Pose
Me after losing 100 lbs by eating healthy and saying “NO”.

Commitment to the Grind


I’ve been doing the gym again. I have been doing a lot of adulting lately in the sense that I’m kicking my own ass and doing shit I don’t want to do because that’s what adults do.

I started back at the gym last week. Went Monday and Wednesday, had a professional meeting Friday, went to my first ever college football game Saturday,


Hail to Pitt!
Nate Peterman drops back and delivers a strike to Tyler Boyd
totally slept on Monday of this week, school Tuesday, errands Wednesday, school Thursday and back to the gym yesterday. I have to learn how to find enough to do in that gym to keep me there longer than 30 minutes.

So I’ve got the mojo back. But I’m exhausted….


It’s a Start…

I went to the gym for the first time in two months. I was locked in. Focus was no issue and I was in the zone.

Nobody gonna break-a my stride...
Nobody gonna break-a my stride…

I only did 4 exercises because I felt like I needed to get back into it. It felt great. I also started using MyFitnessPal again. I hadn’t logged in since the last time I went to the gym which was way back in June. My calorie needs were automatically adjusted and I don’t like the amount, however I will soon be plenty active while also hitting the gym so I need the calories in order to build muscle. Trying to find that balance between shedding fat and building muscle must be some sort of precise science.



Not bad for two months out.
Not bad for two months out.

Staying consistent is important so I took the sleeping pills about 15 minutes ago and should be up and at ’em at 8 am, ready to head to Wright’s Gym around 10.

Need to remember this, in all things.
Need to remember this, in all things.


I have failed to go to the gym regularly at all this year. Part of that is because I switched gyms– my current gym is small and lacking the equipment I desire. I only chose it because I was too preoccupied with sleeping to get up at a decent hour, meaning I would wake up at 2 pm and hop on a bus and go to the current gym which was only 5 minutes from me. My day didn’t have to drag on to god knows what time. My favorite Pittsburgh gym, Wright’s Gym Krav Maga is an hour and 45 minutes from me by bus. You can see why I chose Fitness 19 (current gym).

I know kitty. I am the new fail whale too.
I know kitty. I am the new fail whale too.

I also got accepted to the University of Pittsburgh and have been working tirelessly all summer to get up to speed with programming or Computer Science, my major of choice. I went to school in the spring at CCAC but didn’t finish because I didn’t need to.

I could have gone back to Wright’s. But something stopped me. I have been out of the groove for so long that it is hard to get back in it. My mom, who is 68, goes to Gold’s Gym five days-a-fucking-week. I am ashamed to be shown up by a woman who is 30 some years older than me.

My mom can do more pushups than your mom.
My mom can do more pushups than your mom.

So as I get my programming mind right, starting a university and the importance of exercise, I know what needs done. I need to get to bed by 10 pm every night and get up at 7 or 8 am. On the days I am not in class, I need to get to Wright’s Gym by 10 am. That gives me time to come home and study and work on other projects and commitments.

Unfortunately I will not have time for other things. I will be: school, commitments, gym, social clubs and volunteering

I am not used to this kind of push. The last time I pushed it didn’t fair so well. I was very hypomanic at that time, with an extension of energy that I don’t think too many have. That time I was staying up late and going to bed late and getting up late and rushing, and skipping class. Not this time. The things I am into now are far too important to me and more so than that, they’re fun. I also have some adjustments in the anti-depressant I was taking.

I know the game. It is do or die time. And I want to look fit when I start interning or applying for jobs as we all know the stats for overweight people in the job hunt.

I’ll be updating here but probably not like I should. I am a blogger and podcaster at my Code Newbie in Pittsburgh blog and at The Apple Fancast, as well as a guest podcaster at Code & Supply, a Pittsburgh tech non-profit. Pretty damn busy. But I will update! Promise.