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My passion

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This is mainly unrelated to weight loss, but it's something that is very important to me and I feel like I need to share it. It's quite long, but I'd appreciate it if you took time to read it. Thank you :)

I know I mostly write about my health, nutrition and fitness and leave other personal stuff outside my blog, but I sometimes want to share some other aspects of myself with you. As I have gone through this transformation, I have changed not only on the outside but on the inside as well. I have become more confident and I feel like I have a much better idea of what my dreams and goals are in life. I used to belittle them, tell myself they're not that important or that I'm not good enough to pursue them. But ever since last February when I first decided to change my life (not just the weight but the whole package) I have noticed a change in myself. I'm still a work in progress but I feel like I'm a lot closer to reaching my dreams as I was a year ago.

I've said it before so some of you may already know this, but one of my biggest dreams in life has always been to become a writer. I have been writing poems and stories since I was six years old, and when the teacher asked the kids in my class what we wanted to be when grow up, I told her I wanted to be a writer. Even though I've always known this, somewhere along the way I began to lose sight of this dream. I would think about writing every day but never wrote a single line. That would KILL me and I always felt so guilty about it. I knew I wanted to write, I needed to... but I just didn't have the drive. I was tired, lost and there were times when I was even downright depressed. I didn't know what I wanted. I started my English studies at Uni but took a leave after just one year to figure out what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something creative, I wanted to write, but I felt like I wasn't good enough.

I then spent two years working as a freelance journalist, writing poems or short stories occasionally. I took journalism classes online and then I applied to another school where I studied hotel management. I felt like I was at my wit's end. I was completely lost. I didn't know what I wanted - well, actually, I knew I wanted to write but besides that, I had no idea. I felt like I was drifting further and further away from my dream and the person I was meant to be. I didn't like any of my classes and I just felt like I didn't belong there. I had NEVER, ever in my life dreamed of working in the hotel management / hospitality field. It's definitely not me. In retrospect, I just drifted around aimlessly and ended up at that particular school because it was so close to where me and my boyfriend lived.

I decided I needed to change. I needed to step up and stop running away from my one true passion. I needed to stop running away from me. I had a talk (actually, many very lengthy conversations) with my boyfriend and I decided to quit the school I was studying at and go back to Uni where I had previously been studying English. I know this is all very confusing but let me explain. I decided to change my major from English to Literature. And that's what I've been studying now for the past months, and let me tell you, I'M LOVING IT!

I feel so blessed to have finally found a place where I belong. I love studying literature, and it's even helping me work on my own writing as well. I have been writing poems and working on a novella that I hope to be ready by the end of the month. I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be. Previously I felt like my life was not my own, but now it absolutely is. Without my detours I would have graduated already, but you know what? It's all been worth it. I've learned so much about myself along the way and I know it was all for the best. I'm here now, and that's all that matters.

My goal is to get accepted to the Creative Writing program and pick that as my minor next year. I also plan to make a collection of my poems and send that to a few publishers here in Finland. I WILL BECOME A WRITER ONE DAY, a published writer. That has always been my dream and I'm willing to work very hard for it. I've come a long way already. (Oh, and if my writing seems incoherent or not "good enough" for a writer, it's just because as most of you know English isn't my native language, Finnish is. And that is also the language I'm writing in.)

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you as it is very important to me. I feel like this is directly related to SparkPeople and the changes I have made in my life since I joined here. I want to thank all of you for being such supportive and wonderful friends to me! Your support means everything.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 12/12/2012 8:28PM

    Annie, I applaud you for pursuing your dream, something so many others wish they had done. Since I've been a published writer, and now editor/writer, since 1981 may I offer a few suggestions?

One is to check bookstores and libraries for Writer's Market, Writing Digest and The Writer. Writer's Digest has thousands of listings of publishers, their writing guidelines, what material they accept, what they pay, etc., as well as articles about new authors, securing an agent, and more. There is an on-line version but I prefer having the actual book I can take with me to lunch, waiting for doctor appointments, and other times when I want to leaf through it for article ideas.

The other two are writing oriented magazines that monthly offer a wealth of articles about the business of writing, writing tips, interviews, new markets, etc.

Also, think of submitting Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper and even those around the world. Read them online and see if a letter raises a response in you that you can then write about and submit. Don't forget your hometown paper since you already have roots there.

Check associations, businesses, your university and others for copies of their newsletters. They often need material.

These tips will get you started on seeing the larger picture of writing than merely books and will begin to teach you about the business of writing and how to market your material, often to more than one source, earning more publishing credits and perhaps money!

I hope these ideas help. Please stay in touch privately so we can discuss your progress, problems and ideas. I want you to succeed! emoticon -- Lou

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JADOMB 12/12/2012 3:10PM

    One can't get good physical health without gaining some good mental health along with it. I have gained a much clearer mind also. I am glad you are going for your goals, you are too young to take on a career you already know is NOT you.

By the way, when an American writer ends his book, he ends with "THE END". How do you guys end your books? Do you end with "FINNISH" ? ;-)

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IGSBETH 12/12/2012 11:40AM

    That is wondeful! You go girl!

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CANES4EVER63 12/11/2012 5:47PM

    You can definitely do it!! The most important thing you've done is realize that you want to become a writer and then drop out of the program you were in to pursue something you actually want to do! I have no doubt that you WILL succeed!

I do think that losing weight makes a huge impact on changing our life. After all, losing weight is a LIFESTYLE change, and that includes the WHOLE picture! My lifestyle change includes dating (although that has yet to happen, there have been some moments though!) and being more open with people. Of course, all of this comes with gaining more confidence and losing weight teaches you that you CAN build the confidence that is required to change all aspects of your life.

Keep pushing towards your goals - you can do it!!

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My priorities

Monday, December 10, 2012

So today has been a long, busy day. I woke up early, worked on my essay, went to class and turned the essay in, came home, made lunch (I only had one class today), studied for an exam, worked on another essay, finished reading Hamlet, and now it's 11 pm and I'm about to finish my paper on Shakespeare's sonnets before going to bed. This week is going to be crazy busy as I said before, but I know I'll find a way to get everything done. After the week is over, it's Christmas break and I can relax!

I know it's tempting to make unhealthy choices when you're busy or stressed out. Quick (often unhealthy) meals, skipping workouts and sleeping too little may seem tempting when there are a million things going on and not enough time. It's all about priorities: I choose to take care of my body in the middle of all of what's going on because I know I need to. It's my number one priority. I will find at least 30 minutes a day for exercise and another 30 minutes for tracking my meals and updating my blog. I will spend 30 minutes twice a week planning my meals because I know I deserve that time and devotion. My health is well worth it. Not to mention my sanity! I know I'll be a lot more able to deal with periods of high stress when I'm taking good care of myself. Exercise is a must! Even if it's just a short, brisk walk it's better than staying at the desk all day long!

I'm really trying my best to put my health first. I know I didn't get enough sleep last night and that very rarely happens for me. I hate it when I feel sleep deprived and I'm making a promise to myself that from now on I'll plan out everything and make weekly schedules to make sure I don't leave everything to the last minute.

Other than being busy with school, I ate healthy today and met all my nutritional goals. I also walked for an hour. Now I should get back to writing that paper before I get some sleep.

Me just now, messy hair and ready for bed :)

Hope all of you had a wonderful Monday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JADOMB 12/11/2012 12:07PM

    I don't miss those days at all and I understand the poor food and exercise choices that can be made when focused on finals or other projects. I only wish I would have understood more how much better I would have done if I also kept my health up during those times. You are doing great sweetie, keep it up.

By the way, my daughter and future soninlaw are going thruogh this right now too.

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IUHRYTR 12/11/2012 6:16AM

    Sounds as if you are on top of things and giving your health priority. Loved the picture. -- Lou

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CANES4EVER63 12/10/2012 9:29PM

    Good luck getting everything done - it's a race to the finish! I feel the same way! I just have tests left, and although I finish my class on the 20th, I don't graduate until the 9th. And then in my break (we have to be back "in class" on the 2nd), I'll be studying for my boards! Ahh, so close to being done!

As far as quick healthy meals - I find that quinoa is great. I use 1 cup of quinoa (and 2 cups of liquid) and add veggies and whatever I'm in the mood for and get 4 servings out of it! That's dinner and a few more lunches and/or dinners! Example: today I did quinoa and toasted it first with some garlic (not necessary, but adds flavor), then added veggie broth (you could use water), celery, and a link of sliced chicken sausage (need that protein!!). When the quinoa was cooked, I threw in some fresh spinach, sliced cherry tomatoes, roasted pine nuts, and sun dried tomatoes. - Quick, delicious, filling, and healthy! Each serving of this concoction comes to approximately 225 calories and it took about 20-25 minutes to make! Yum!

Comment edited on: 12/10/2012 9:30:58 PM

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JACKIE542 12/10/2012 8:23PM

    Good job, you will always feel better when you exercise and keep up with eating properly. Keep it up, you are doing great. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Busy, busy, busy

Sunday, December 09, 2012

This is going to be very short but since I promised myself I would update daily if possible I just wanted to write a little something before I go to bed. It's ridiculously late here (almost 3 am) and I'm never up this late but I had to finish an essay for tomorrow morning and as usual, I just had to leave it till the last minute. I really need to start managing time better and scheduling things in a way that makes these late-night/early-morning writing sessions impossible. I HATE THIS. But it's my own fault, I should have started sooner.

I have a few other deadlines and an exam coming up this week as well so I'll be pretty busy. But it'll all be done by Thursday and then I can officially start my Christmas break! Until then, it's all work no play basically.

I managed to find time to go for a nice, brisk walk today despite all the madness. It felt so good to go outside and relieve the stress by walking. Works every time! I also ate healthy and made sure I stayed within my range (skipped dessert because I knew that would have put me over my limit! Yay, I'm so proud of myself!).

Hope you all had a great weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JADOMB 12/10/2012 11:55AM

    I know it is easy to feel that you have to skip your exercise in order to spend more time on your projects, but I'm glad you didn't. That time you spent getting your body full of more fresh Oxygen did more to clear up your thoughts than the extra time spent looking blankly at pages of things to do. ;-)

Keep it up and Keep the faith, you're WINNING

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JACKIE542 12/9/2012 9:59PM

    Glad you did well today, going for a walk and getting some exercise is always a stress relief. Have a good sleep, and a good day tomorrow. emoticon

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CAGMUAHFO2 12/9/2012 8:46PM

    I completely understand what you mean about waiting to the last minute. I have done that for the last 2 weeks with my class work too. I've had 2 weeks to work on my project but yet I wait until a few days ago to start it. And guess what? I have an issue and had to email the teacher and so far I haven't heard back. UHOH!!

I got out for a nice walk today too!! emoticon

emoticon emoticon

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LTMURPHY7 12/9/2012 8:07PM


Walking outside is refreshing

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Changed my goal weight

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Today I updated my weight tracker. I've changed my goal weight a number of times: when I first started, my goal was to get down to 56 kgs (123 lbs) which would have meant a total loss of 30 kilograms (66 lbs). In the summer, a few months after I started, I started feeling really good about my body and decided I didn't want to lose quite as much weight as I originally planned, and changed my goal weight to 60 kgs (132 lbs). As my motivation began to disappear and I really did not feel like losing a lot more weight (and I was actually pretty content with my current appearance), I changed it yet again to 66 kgs (145 lbs) which would have put me to a total loss of 20 kilograms instead of the original 30 that I planned to lose.

HOWEVER, now that I am back at it again and feeling stronger than ever, I decided that I wanted to do this right once and for all. Before I gained all this weight, I consistently weighed about 120 lbs. I call this my "natural weight". Ever since I gained a lot of weight, I've always wanted to get back to where I was. I haven't weighed that little since I was 16 years old - that's when the binge eating started. I decided I really want to reach that "natural weight" again once and for all! I'm going to give it a try. If at some point along my journey I feel like I do not want to or need to lose any more weight, I won't. But for now, my new goal is to get down to about 120 lbs.

I'm excited about this!! I'm filled with this amazing energy and I'm going to channel it into building momentum for weeks and months to come. I know I can do this. We all can!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/9/2012 1:35PM

It is wise to choose a goal weight that is inspiring.
If during your journey you come across a weigh that feels right, you can still stop there : )

I'm 44 and my current weight which makes me happy is 4 kg below what SP predicted for me, but 8 kg above my pre-pregnancy weight (that was 20 years ago!).

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JADOMB 12/8/2012 11:43PM

    How tall are you? From your pics, I have a hard time seeing you at 120, but photos don't always tell the tale. Most my younger life I was at 155, but at my most healthy weight I was at 168. But I also had much more muscle mass then. So if you are doing things right and doing ST to keep your muscle mass proper, you may have a tough time getting down to 120. What ever you decide to do, must continue to do it in a healthy way. Keep the faith.

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IUHRYTR 12/8/2012 10:29PM

    Yea, Annie! Great determination. I'm confident you will get there. Won't that be a day to remember? -- Lou

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CANES4EVER63 12/8/2012 6:59PM

    You can do it!! I'm considering changing mine, but I'm just going to see what happens when I get to 132. I think I'm ultimately going to change to 120 as well, but I'm not sure. Everyone's body type is different, so I'm just going to stop when I'm happy and I have no idea what weight that will be! I've always thought I don't want to be below 120 (because some places require a weight of 120lbs to donate blood), but I even considered 115 at one point (again, I have NO idea where I want to end!!), but being 115 means I can say that I lost more than I weigh, and I think that would just be cool :)

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CHUM48 12/8/2012 6:11PM

    You can do it! Focus! Focus!

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X5X52000 12/8/2012 6:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Week 1 Recap

Friday, December 07, 2012

This has been a very good week for me. I have been tracking everything I eat and I've stayed within my calorie range and met my nutritional goals every day. EVEN TODAY, which is Friday! That doesn't happen often for me! Weekend has always, in some way, meant over-indulging in some of my favorite treats, but this time I enjoyed them in moderation only. And I feel so much better for it! I still got to have some chocolate but I didn't go over my calories.

This week, I...
...lost 4 pounds!
...tried a few healthy, new recipes such as chicken pita with low fat tzatziki and veggies, low-calorie version of the Count of Monte Cristo Sandwich, carrot slaw with apples and grapes, and Pesto Bella Burgers (most of the recipes were from the SparkPeople Cookbook).
...baked whole grain flaxseed rolls which were so good!
...burned 1800 calories.
...felt really happy, calm and in control.

All in all, it's been a great week. It's always easy in the beginning but this time I promise I won't start slacking even when (notice I said when, not "if"; we're human, we're not perfect) setbacks happen or when I'm feeling unmotivated. You just have to push through it and you'll eventually find a way to get your Spark back.

Have a great Friday everyone! :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 12/8/2012 2:12AM

    You are an inspiration, Annie. Stay the course and have a terrific weekend. -- Lou

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JADOMB 12/7/2012 8:16PM


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SUN_N_SEA 12/7/2012 6:55PM

    emoticon Not like you need me to tell you... but you're doing great!! emoticon

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JACKIE542 12/7/2012 6:33PM

    Good job! Keep it going you can do this. emoticon

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TENGELS82 12/7/2012 6:27PM

    I'm so glad you had such a great week!! Today is my day 1 of getting my butt back in gear. Hopefully a week from now I'll be able to tout my accomplishments from the week as well!

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