health

Breaking the Habit: Part Two

You can find Breaking the Habit Part One here!

Ah, back to blogging about the butts. I had to write the part two sooner or later, and I’m happy to announce that as of today I am cigarette free. I didn’t quit on my birthday like I had originally wanted, but I was down to one cigarette a day for a few weeks before I finally just threw in the towel. I had run out one day and I was like you know what, Lara? You don’t need that one stupid cigarette anymore.

And just like that, I broke free from the habit that would eventually kill me one day.

Let me tell you, though, it was NOT easy. It’s been hard. Really fucking hard. I honestly have come to the acceptance that I’m just going to be a little bit bitchier for the rest of my life. For every time someone cuts me off on the highway, or anyone at work aggravates me, I don’t have that precious rolled up piece of goodness to get me through that spike in my blood pressure anymore. I have “deep breathing.” Pardon me while I hypothetically throw up all over that phrase because quite frankly, I’d rather smoke a cigarette.

BUT. The list of diseases my family has from smoking is of enormous quantities. So I’d rather be an old bitch than a nice young corpse. It makes life spicier that way anyways.

I’ve only cheated 3 times too! And it’s only when I’m drunk. Anyone who has ever been a smoker can attest that nothing is better than having a cigarette and a drink at the same friggin time. Ugh. It’s amazing.

But you know what? Each time I’ve cheated has never been followed by a relapse.

I won’t go back to it. I CAN’T. I work out six days a week. I do intense cardio and lifting. There is NO way I would be able to accomplish what I have with cigarettes. I can’t believe I got through workouts as a smoker. I used to smoke one right BEFORE a workout. HAHA seriously, Lara? Seriously.

Once the withdrawals go away, it truly is just mind over matter. My entire family smokes. Every single day I am surrounded by cigarette smoke. That’s will power right there. Just like how every day I decide to not eat the cookies on my counter, I also decide not to smoke a cigarette. And the fact that sugar is just as addicting as cigarettes is a WHOLE other post for a different day. And seriously, that WILL be discussed eventually because it’s just as serious as any other addiction in this world.

I can’t lie though. I DO have a crutch. And this “crutch” has been up for serious debate but it’s saved my lungs. What is this magic that I speak of? E-cigarettes. Not just any e-cigarette. A Provape – It’s one of the top ones on the market. NOT cheap but when I do the math between smoking that and cigarettes, my vape is FAR more superior. And I know what you nay sayers have to say:

E Juice is dangeroussss! OH NO PLEASE DON’T SMOKE THAT STUFF LARA!

This isn’t a debate, but I’m just going to leave the vape talk off with the fact that I haven’t seen one piece of research against e-cigarettes. I’m extremely careful with it, I keep children away from it, and I don’t poison my neighbors with it. A few puffs of that a day to keep me sane is extremely better than smoking a pack of cigs a day. I pick and choose my dangers wisely.

Anyways, I’m 4 months strong and so far, not wanting to go back. They say trying to quit after failing to quit is one of the hardest things to do – harder than the original quit. I won’t let myself get to that point. As long as I have my health on my side, I think I’ll be okay. Even if I’m a little bitchy 🙂

Summer Came & Went

Well, considering I haven’t written a single thing since JUNE, I assume I should do some “catch up” until I get to a somewhat present moment.

The summer flew by faster than it ever had before. I guess that’s what happens when you spend most of your free time sober. Somewhere between my terrible break up and meeting The Drummer, I had some weird change of the heart and mind. All of my drunken escapades where taking a toll on my body, and since I’d worked so hard on losing weight and getting healthy, I knew this lifestyle couldn’t last forever.

It began in June, when I finally quit smoking cigarettes. I had slowly weaned myself off of them – first by cutting the pack in half, and then another half, until I was down to just 1 per day. Then I ran out of cigarettes one day and just decided that was it.

And That. Was. It.

I don’t care what anyone says. I was a heavy smoker for 14 years. I couldn’t even STAND the thought of quitting before that point, but when I did, it felt like cake. Don’t get me wrong. I will ALWAYS have a love for those little cancer filled sticks of deliciousness, but I couldn’t fucking breathe. It just isn’t worth it.

Once I quit smoking, I started realizing how much more capacity my lungs could hold during workouts.

I CAN BREEEEATHE! I CAN BURPEE! I CAN NOT WANT TO DIE EVERY TIME I RUN!

It’s quite the feeling. You don’t realize how important breathing is until you actually get your ass out of bed and jump around every day. I’m in love with breathing now! And every time I want a smoke, I just think about how hard it would be to accomplish the fitness goals I have with cigarettes.

That’s where my next addiction comes into play…Fitness.

Exercise is the healthiest addiction there is. Of course, there’s always a way to make it completely unhealthy, but when you’ve done as much damage to yourself as I have, it’s hard to get to that point.

I spent ALL summer working out. Every damn morning I was up at 5:30 AM, hauling ass, eating eggs, and then going to work. It feels pretty rad to walk into work and smile at all the tired people – because in my mind I’m all like Yeah, I just jumped around for an hour. Take THAT!

So all my hard work eventually paid off – I surpassed my goal weight by 15 pounds, and am now lifting and focusing on toning and all those other good fake words to describe reshaping my body. I joined a gym so I could have access to all of those fabulous cardio classes that you see in the infomercials AND so I can take yoga classes. I’ve also heavily researched fitness and nutrition and hope to share all of the information I’ve picked up on here to maybe give some inspiration to others because if I can do it..seriously…anyone can.

Before I knew it, summer was gone! My class started at the end of August so the reality of summer’s end slapped me faster than the other people who got to wait until at least LABOR DAY to be depressed.

Not a very enthusiastic summer, but for me it was a rebirth. Less drinking (come on – I still have to let loose once in a while), more moving, and just feeling alive for the first time in a while. And all with a great guy that I met in the depths of online dating world. More on that next time.

Hearts, Stars, and Horseshoes

BOOM. HEY. YO. What in the world is up?!

It’s been well over a month since I’ve popped into my corner of the internet. Christ, I can’t believe I still have followers. Writing material just seems so difficult for me to pick from space when my insides aren’t jumbled up into one hot mess of a person. But here I am, for your eyes or not.

I’ve been well. Stagnant, but well. Summer is here in New England, and let me tell you: You have to soak it up all you can because 9 months out of the year it’s cold. As SHIT. Today is actually the first scorch-ah (I had to, sorry) and it’s not even as hot as it’ll get. Thank God for my closet full of dresses. No pants all summer.

I haven’t been up to much since my last post. My birthday passed by without a hitch. Without TEARS. It was amazing. Though I hate being a year older, it definitely has put my future into perspective for me.

First off, I need a new job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job. I love what I do. I love the people. I wish there was more for me to do work-wise, but hey, we do have our busy seasons. It’s honestly about the money and growth right now. I can’t grow much here – financially or on the totem pole. And as a 26 year old woman with one degree and another on the way, I deserve much more than I get. I gotta pay Sally Mae back before I kick the can, you know? Being financially stable and racking in more dough to my savings account will set me up for the future – and emergencies.

Secondly, I gotta finish school. I can’t wait! Three more classes. Three more classes and three thousand more dollars and that will be one less bill I have to pay for. And that piece of paper I receive at the end of it all will benefit me far more than my psych degree is right now.

Third – the Drummer brought up an interesting proposition to me last week regarding location. He’s looking at PhD programs both in this state and a few others and the thought of him leaving made me sort of sad. We’ve had the most fun these past 7 months (can you BELIEVE it’s been 7 months?) and I’d just hate to separate after such a good time. And then he proposed that I think about coming with him if it were out of state. I mean, it wouldn’t be for another 14 months, but it’s still a lot to think about. Honestly, I’m young, intelligent, and spunky. I could get a job practically anywhere. And if we weren’t sick of each other after two years of dating, then why the hell not? My home is my sanctuary. I love my family. And the most wonderful thing about them is if things didn’t work out elsewhere, I could always come home. If I have the opportunity to leave, I WILL take it if it feels right because I’ve wanted to leave this state for so long and the time to do it is while I’m still young and resilient.

The only thing holding me back from 100% excitement is my parents. I’ve always worried what they would do when they grew old. Who would care for them? I spoke to my mother the other day and she assured me that if I ever left for good, her and my father would retire to Abu Dhabi (where my brother and his wife live) and be happy. That sort of distance just doesn’t sit right with me. My parents are my world and since I was young and I first learned they weren’t in fact immortal, it has bothered me to no end. Since then, I’ve had an abnormal fear of my parents’ death – Because they are my world, and if my world dies, that leaves me with another hole in my brittle heart. Ugh. Enough, Lara. Seriously.

All of these futuristic thoughts are connected – Finish school –> Better job —> More $$$ —> More savings for a possible out-of-state adventure. And now I have little goals I have set for myself to achieve all of it. Life isn’t to shabby right meow.

So, see? Stagnant. F*cking stagnant. Boring. YAAWWWWN. Are you guys still awake? I’m way boring being in a relationship. Plus, I’ve cut down on the drinking since I’ve become such a health nut these days. Which leads me to my next and final subject….

A New Blog

This blog has been and has done so much for me and I appreciate it and all of you more than you know. However, I find that I have no ammo anymore. I think I’ve exhausted writing about the ex – and that’s what blogging was about for me. Therapy. Healing. I will forever be healing but I’m not sure if it’s as much as I needed previously. I’m on a new adventure in my life and it’s a happier, more positive one. I worked really hard to get here and I will continue to write about what I’m passionate about.

My friend and I are in the works on creating a new blog. One that’s got a mind and body theme – specifically health and wellness. We’re only talking about it right now and haven’t started it up, but for anyone who is interested, I will keep you posted. I know many of you come here for dirty stories and laughs, so I’m on the fence about whether or not I’ll keep this one open for the public, but it’s all just thoughts at the moment. And I know not everyone is into the whole “health” thing, so if there’s any other way that you guys want to connect, drop me your e-mails and we can stay in touch through that portal – or Instagram – I’ve got one of those now HA! Sorry, no Facebook still.

Anywho, I had to write something on here. My blog looked so lonely and isolated. And I wanted to tell you all that intothebeauty might be no longer in the coming months. I don’t know though. Ugh. Eh. Even saying it makes me second guess it. We’ll see.

I love you all. Every single one of you. Until next time.

Day 16: Friday. ‘Nuff Said.

#100HappyDays Day 16

Fridays,  weekends, boyfriends, drum lessons, dance music, Persian Zumba, red wine, best friends

(not in any particular order)

Have an absolutely beautiful weekend.

“Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

-Dalai Lama

#100HappyDays Day 3-5: Worth the Weight

Happy Monday Everyone! I tried my absolute hardest to get on here over the weekend to update my 100 Happy Days, but fortunately I was out and about. Yah know, being happy? The whole point of this challenge?!

I had a college reunion with a bunch of my old friends. We haven’t all been out together in years, so it was absolutely amazing to take a step back in time (yet old enough to drink) and get wild with my lady friends. That was totes a day full of happiness.

Sunday was spent with those said friends, getting breakfast at our old hot spot and then making my way home to my lovely family for a day full of reorganizing my LIFE. When I moved home with my parents last September, I thought it was only going to be temporary, so I just sort of just shoved my life into boxes and stuffed them in closets. Well, after over a year of shopping and shopping and (you see I have an issue) more shopping, I ran out of room to put all my crap so I completely revamped my room and threw some serious junk away to make it more of my own space.

Yesterday’s happiness definitely had to go to my family. I appreciate them immensely for letting me stay with them, rent free, while I pay for current college, pay back my last degree, pay for my brand new car, etc. etc. They don’t suffocate me, I feel like just another roommate there, and it isn’t bad that my mom cooks my dinner and folds my laundry sometimes either. HEY MA!

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Today’s #100HappyDays post is something a little personal and close to my heart. I wanted to make it up to you guys for not posting this weekend. So without further ado:

.Sorry For The Weight.

I have suffered with body image issues, on and off for pretty much of my entire life. I’ve been battling with my weight for 18 years and it hasn’t been a war that I’ve always won. And it definitely hasn’t been easy.

I wasn’t always overweight, either. I was a twig until I was in second grade. One day, I was playing outside in my backyard while my father was mowing the lawn. All of a sudden, a rock flew out and hit me directly in my left eye. That pain was the worst pain I’ve ever suffered. I threw up for hours after the event because the trauma was so bad and finally my parents took me to the hospital only to find out that I had a cataract in my eye and barely any vision left.

I was in the hospital for over a week and after that I was confined to my bed getting eye drops every 2 hours but not being able to move more than that. No running. No jumping. I couldn’t even bend over to pick something up because the doctors were afraid I would suffer from a detached retina.

Finally after seeing specialist after specialist, one eye surgeon found the slightest bit of sight in my eye and put me in for surgery. I underwent cataract surgery and a few years later, Lasik eye surgery. I still have really bad vision, but that’s for another time.

In those few years that I wasn’t able to do anything that an active child was able to do, I put on a little weight. All I could do was eat, and shit, that’s exactly what I did. Middle school threw some bullies at me, but it was maybe one or two boys at the most. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but it still hurt nonetheless.

By 7th grade, my mom signed me up for a weight loss program and I lost 30 lbs. Throw in some puberty boobs and a growth spurt and I looked pretty awesome.

Cue 8th grade and high school: That all went down hill.

Throughout most of my adolescence, I was in the dark. Drugs. Drinking. Smoking. Partying. I was the wildest 14 year old you would ever meet in your life. I was like a guest out of the Steve Wilkos Show. I didn’t slap my mama or anything, but I definitely hit the bottle hard. This topic will most certainly be covered another time because my story is far too long for today’s happiness tale.

During that time, I blindly ate. And drank. And ate. And ate. Until finally by my senior year of high school/freshman year of college, I tipped the scale at a staggering 210 pounds. To be completely honest, when I looked in the mirror back then, I had NO idea I was that big. I don’t know if it was my adolescent drug induced haze or maybe the beginning of my happy life that distorted my perception of myself, but I’m glad I realize it now.

And here, we have the before picture:

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Sorry about the awful red streak across my face, I try to keep myself anonymous though I’m sure it doesn’t work too well haha

When I got to college, I had no car. I think that’s what honestly saved my life. I had to walk EVERYWHERE. I had to walk to get food, to go to class, to go to my friends’ houses, etc. It got me moving. WAY more than I ever moved in my life. And by the end of my sophomore year of college, I was getting compliments that completely confused me.

All of a sudden, I started glancing at pictures like the one I just showed you and my jaw dropped.

WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL? DID I REALLY LOOK LIKE THAT?

HOW IN THE WORLD DID I MISS THAT?

IWASAHOUSE.

It was then that I started to care a little bit more about what I ate. It was an extremely slow process. I started out by just paying attention to my nutrition. I mean, it was still college so I definitely had my fair share of pizza, but I traded most things for Smart Ones and cereal after I realized the old me could make a cup of water quiver with every step like I was in Jurassic Park.

Over the years, I’ve learned SO much about food. Nutrition. Good foods. Bad foods. And the scientific reasoning and processes behind everything we eat. I now tailor my diet to my specific personality. I eat all the healthy foods I love, but on Saturdays I get to crack out on pizza. It’s my favorite food, and dammit obesity, you will NOT take pizza away from me.

Once I realized eating right just wasn’t going to cut it alone, I started working out. I’ve been really into it for almost a consistent year, and in and out of the game for a few years. To go from never working out to trying to be hardcore is tough. I HATED working out. Honestly, when you’re fat and tired from walking up a flight of stairs, why in the world would you want to work out for an hour? It took an easing into it and now I love working out. I switch it up all the time and I make sure I’m always having fun.

Now I know I know, where’s the after picture right? First off, I just want to apologize for my Charlie’s Angels stance. I don’t have any social media and it was the only picture I could find with a full body side profile.

And now…

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That’s me a few months ago. I’ve actually lost 8 or 9 lbs. since then, so as you can tell, the work is never finished. I’m 70 pounds lighter. SEVENTY POUNDS!

It’s been hard. It’s been a long road. I have cried many, many, times, but I am stronger now than I ever was. I have 10 lbs. to go before I am at my dream weight. The weight I’ve always wanted to be. And I think I’m going to cry harder than ever when I reach that. But this time, it will be tears of joy.

So today, I am happy for the determination and hard work it took to get me where I am today with my health. I have struggled with this for my entire life and I probably will continue to struggle with it for the remainder.

But like I always say, life isn’t easy. And if this is a challenge that I have to face to be the happiest person possible, well then,

GAME ON.