Welp, its time for the holidays, which are the busiest time of year for all of us. Since I’ll be busy working and enjoying time with family, and ending the decade with friends, I figured I’d post my annual photo essay reviewing my 2019 (excluding photos of the kids). It’s been an eventful year; moved to a new home, went on some fantastic adventures, made new friends, and did a bunch of kick ass stuff. I hope you had a great year as well, and you achieved many goals and dreams. Enjoy the photos and hopefully I’ll have more stories to tell in 2020!
My life always feels noisy. Between the loud music (speaking of music, I finally embraced streaming and got Apple Music. My world has changed for the better). But I’m always thinking, working, parenting, and obsessing about body image, finances, and trying to juggle what sometimes feel likes the whole world. It can cause a lot of noise in your head and that noise will make all the things I just mentioned harder. There’s a time talk about stuff, and a time to just be quiet and focus on each task one at a time. I chose this time to focus on quieting my mind and improving my life. When you’re trying to do a million things at once and still try to feel normal, eventually you just feel crazier. I desperately needed a reset.
I had a free week from work that was supposed to go to a vacation, but some much needed household repairs came first. I took this time to focus on my own mental health. I went to the gym. I worked out at home. I played a lot of video games.
But most importantly, I took a major step back from my life to be a parent and really look inward into how I can improve how I feel about myself. I’m back in that old pattern where I try hard, then fail, then gain more weight. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be the person who makes herself a priority so her kids see that it’s okay to take time for yourself to do what makes you healthier. I needed to shake up my life so I could really use fitness as a reward because I like myself, not feel like it’s a punishment for failing at weight loss. I needed to spend some time away from my world to reconnect with MHC and decide how I could really jump start the self love so I could get back on track. I never focus on me. It’s always my kids, my team, my boss, my friends, my mom, etc. but never “what does MHC want?” How can I become a happier person if I don’t even know what that means anymore? Truly I didn’t know. I talked a good game, but I’m always busy helping everyone else and feeling like an awful human if I couldn’t please everyone. The only person I wasn’t trying to please was me & that’s why all the things I love most were slipping away; fitness, job success, writing. So, I decided to do something to snap out of this repetitive cycle.
So I changed my hair.
I know it sounds stupid, but the first time I lost all of the weight and put myself in the happiest headspace I’ve ever been in, I realized I needed something I could control to get me started. So, I dyed my jet black hair blonde. It was a small, instant change that helped improve my self esteem. That change kick started other changes, which led to 100lbs weight loss. Ever since I gained some of the weight back, I’ve really just not liked myself. This made everything feel impossible. What was the point of working out? I just got fat again. Why bother dating? Working hard is important but feels futile because I’m just not good enough. I’ll never reach my time goal for my 10k because I’m too fat, and the list goes on. I was at the same crossroads I was before I moved to London, only moving to a random city isn’t an option because I love Edmonton and my house is the best. Maybe it was time to change up my appearance so I really love it and the rest would follow.
It worked too! I’ve worked out 14 out of 20 days this month, either at the gym or at home! That’s a major change from previous months. I’m enjoying it again too. I’m enjoying work again after my week off. I’m connecting with my kids and my friends in a better way because I’m not feeling so down on myself. A long time ago, I let depression and the feelings of unworthiness and self loathing cost me some good friendships. But, now I recognize when I’m feeling like this and I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take some space from the world and get to know yourself again and figure out your own needs, not the needs of everyone around you. I’m still learning that it’s not my job to please everyone; just do my best for my kids, at my job, and for myself. The rest, the weight loss, the successes, will all come if I focus on one day at a time, whether it’s one work day, one workout, or just one day of quiet, letting my body and emotions tell me what I need.
I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday this year.
Money has been tight because of some unexpected repairs and I couldn’t take the girls to the WWE event they wanted to go to. I know they just went to Summerslam but I knew they wanted to go for my birthday. I know kids don’t need to do everything, but I felt like I disappointed them.
I also just looked at my birthday as a bunch of disappointments. I thought I’d have found my partner by now, and I haven’t been on a date in two months. I thought I’d be at my goal weight and I’m not even close. I thought I’d have gotten the promotion I’ve been chasing, but I’m not there yet. I just felt like I’ve let myself down. I had set goals for myself, and I didn’t really hit them. My birthday just felt like the year of disappointment. But, I still look good, that’s a plus, right?!
Fortunately, I have some pretty awesome friends. My assistant manager and his partner planned an entire birthday party for me, and invited all of my friends. They spoiled me with gifts. We drank wine and played Super Smash Bros. Two days later, I attended a work event and everyone made it a point to wish me a happy birthday. My boss’s wife got me a piñata. It might not seem like much to y’all, but when you’re already feeling down, there’s something so amazing about all the people you love or respect taking a second to do something nice for you is such a cool thing.
Maybe I didn’t meet the goals I set for myself, but I’m still doing really well. I have a job I love. I’ve been working on some new articles. I have great kids and the best friends in the whole world. I must be doing something right to have so many amazing people take time out of their lives to want to celebrate with me. I’m not behind because I didn’t meet some imaginary criteria. All of this stuff will happen when it’s supposed to. Until then, I should focus more on gratitude. I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life and that I get to be their friends. I’m fortunate enough to live in a wonderful home with my amazing family. I’m fortunate that I can afford to repair things when they go wrong. Lots of others don’t have that luxury. Maybe instead of focusing on timelines and schedules, just keep working on what I want to work on and then be grateful for when they happen, instead of pressuring myself to get there and failing. Things fall into place better when you let them instead of forcing them to fall when you think they should. Trust the process, don’t obsess about the result.
It’s funny how sometimes one thing can just snowball and really deflate you and destroy you…if you let it.
Shortly after I finished my 10k, I was feeling better than I ever have. I was feeling empowered and excited for the first time in a long time. I was starting to feel good about my body. I was really believing I could lose these pounds and look the way I wanted to. I was finally overcoming the dark cloud and pushing forward.
Then I was out with some friends and one of them was telling a story. During the story she said “there was no way I’d fit in it. She’s so big even YOU couldn’t fit in her clothes!” I remember balking at the comment and the friend was like ” you know what I mean, you wouldn’t fit in them because she’s really big, so I definitely wouldn’t!” But the damage was done. I had just talked to people about how I work out because I enjoy the work, only to be told that I looked fine and at my age, the window to find love was closing anyway, and finding someone would only complicate my life, couldn’t I just be happy as the solo friend? I realized that my closest friends don’t look at me as someone who loves fitness or is desirable or has great traits; I’m the fat, single friend. I make people feel better about their lives because they’re not the fat, single friend. I didn’t mind being the single friend, but when I’m just confident enough to really take dating seriously, being told that the window is closing so stop working out and accept your fate, solo loser, was a little off putting.
Suddenly, I felt like the “f” word was EVERYWHERE. That’s how everyone saw me; fat and old. I’d be at the gym, but I felt like there was a sign on me that screamed “you don’t belong. You are fat and old.” Even though my gym mates are super supportive, it was like a mantra now “fat and old. Window closing. Best days behind you. Fat and old.” I was my biggest fear; the fat old single mom that dies alone meddling in their kids lives because they are unlovable. I’d work late. I stopped running, because every step screamed; “FAT. OLD. FAT. OLD. NO HOPE. WINDOW CLOSED.” I stopped wearing makeup. I stopped trying. Even my work slipped. But it didn’t matter. I gained the weightback. I’m old and fat. Sephora doesn’t make enough makeup to fix that. Old. Fat. Old. Fat. Window closed.
I saved up all year to take the kids to Summerslam. I pinched pennies and stuck to a budget and used all my PC Optimum points for snacks. They had the best time, and met their heroes, Becky Lynch and Carmella. We watched Crossfit Jesus become the Master of the Universe from our nosebleeds. I felt like after a year of second guessing, I finally did one thing right.
Even then, I avoided photos on vacation, until the girls insisted I was in one. Then, a random Twitter user called me fat.
Even on vacation, old and fat followed. This was who I was. All those years I spent trying so hard to be a good role model suddenly felt pointless. Dating, which was never a big priority, suddenly felt useless. Sure, hundreds of people said otherwise, but I didn’t feel pretty, or even good about the fact that I saved up all year to take my kids to Summerslam and give them that memory. I just felt defeated. I came home and my washer broke. The repair is way beyond my budget. I was so depressed that I slept through my gym alarm…twice. When it rains, it pours, and I felt like a failure trying to balance work and life and something as simple as liking myself when I looked in the mirror seemed impossible. So I just stopped trying.
But, life doesn’t stop when you’re sad. Life doesn’t end because you’re moping about. And kids still need good role models even when you feel fat and old and like you’re unloveable and unworthy. So, when today’s crisis (internet went down) barred me from open gym, and I had to do laundry at a friend’s house, I still went running. Was it a good run?! Hell no! I ran a kilometre. But I ran, and it felt good to run. On Wednesday, I’ll run two. Three on Saturday. I’ll keep it up until I get back to 5km.
I talked to my ASM about making sure i could leave on time to hit the gym. That’s the one place I feel empowered. The only person who tells me I don’t belong is me. That voice can kindly STFU ten times. Washing machines break. It happens. We’ll pull through. Daphne Zuniga got married for the first time at 56. The window doesn’t close. The only way it closes if you keep telling yourself you’re too old and fat.
It’s not going to be easy; when you feel depressed, it’s hard sometimesto shake off the negative self talk and push forward. But I know that to love myself, I’ve gotta invest in myself. Push past that voice that says I’m too old and too fat and do the work and invest in myself. The reason I was so happy wasn’t just because I lost 100lbs. It was because I was investing in my own happiness. My kids need to see that happiness doesn’t come from a relationship; a relationship comes when you are happy. I had a great talk with my boss about the quadrants of time management. I spend so much time trying to be in Q2 (important but not urgent) that sometimes I forget that Q1’s (urgent and important) happen, or Q3’s (urgent and unimportant). You gotta roll with the Q1’s so you can get back to Q2. Don’t panic, just push though. The washer will break. Money will be tight. A Twitter troll will call you fat. But I’m not old and fat. Or maybe I am. But I’ll work at it until I feel happy with my body. But most importantly, I’ll remind myself that I’m beautiful and work at my life until I believe it, because no one is gonna do it for me.
That’s how I’ve felt this past month. I haven’t been pitching stories anywhere because I haven’t had the urge. I haven’t really exercised much, because I’m always exhausted. At first I thought it was jet lag, but it’s been a week and I’m still just blah. But my race is coming up and I ate nothing but crap for a week and I missed the gym, but I’m just like…meh.
I have no reason to feel this way. Work is going well. Life is good. Friends kick ass. Family is good. But I’m just kind of in a weird funk. The rain preventing me from going for a good run isn’t helping either. I always just want to go to sleep.
Even my attempts to run weren’t going well. I’d hear the pace say I was behind & I would just give up and quit. It was just so demoralizing that I felt like I shouldn’t be in the 10k or even doing anything except crying into an ice cream sandwich and going to sleep.
I knew I had to snap out of it because no one is successful living their life in a haze of meh. You’ve gotta find something to feel passionate about, even if all you wanna do is take a nap. There’s also the fact that how you treat your body impacts how it reacts. If you don’t take care of yourself, your body doesn’t want to go. I spent a week eating garbage food and doing nothing and then came back home to do nothing and eat garbage food. There’s been less meal prep and more Manchu Wok. I fought so hard not to become this person and yet, I’ve become this person. But the thing about this type of behaviour is that it sneaks up on you. One day you’re just a little tired. The next you think you’ll just catch up on sleep. Then two weeks pass and you haven’t seen your friends and you’ve worked late and missed the gym and you’re laying in your bathtub even though the water is cold and you realize maybe you aren’t doing okay.
Nothing really needs to be “wrong” in your life and you don’t necessarily need to be “sad.” Sometimes you just feel like your energy has been sucked out of you and that’s where all month except for the week I was away. I’ve realized that while I’ve talked about giving away too much and leaving an empty vessel, now I really am one. So, much like one of my best friend’s deleted FB to shut out some noise and focus on himself, I need to start doing the same.
First thing I did was make a hair appointment. You can’t feel blah after a day making your hair fabulous. My stylist is the best and I know my self esteem will jump 10 points because my hair will be fantastic. You might laugh, but small things will really help pull you out of the doldrums. Next, I forced myself to workout with Deadboys Fitness and get back into running. They haven’t been great, but I’ve got two weeks before the race, so even running every day should get me on the right track, no pun intended.
I asked a friend who is a trainer to help me push myself harder to get a better run in. It wasn’t the best time, but I did manage to get a solid time in while running on the trails. My next time will be much better.
I don’t know why I’ve been feeling so blah, but when going through a depressive episode, it’s up to me to pull myself out, just like it’s up to all of us when going through those times when we are down on ourselves and feeling like crap. Whether it’s through therapy, medication, exercise, or just focusing on a little victory each day, everyone can find a way to feel better. For me, it’s finding something every day to feel good about myself, whether it’s a good run, getting back to the gym, or a strong day at work. I’ve been wallowing in my low sense of self for a month now, and it’s time I snap out of it and focus on being the most bad ass version of me. That means getting up every morning, putting my confidence on, and working towards my goals.
After years of working to be healthy and love myself, I gained a bunch of weight back.
After the events of the fall, I decided since I was on the wait list for counselling, I’d just eat a fuck ton of garbage. I bought lunch every day, ate a ton of snacky crap. I even brought chips into the house and started drinking Soda again. It was BAD. I ended up adding 40 to the 20 I had gained and now I needed to drop 60lbs to fit in the super cute outfits I used to own. I haven’t felt good about my body in a long time and on 12/29/18, I vowed to change this.
I started a fitness only IG & updated it with progress pics once a week. Everyone was usually positive, except that one asshole that trolled, calling me fat (Good job, asshole, I already knew that. That’s literally the point, but thanks for the head’s up).
It’s been good for keeping me accountable, but I felt like I wasn’t progressing. I was really down on myself and being down on myself usually means stress eating. I tried stress running instead, and stress fitness. I’ve been doing a fun combination of CrossFit, Crossfit with Deadboys Fitness at home, and running. I even felt confident enough to try one of the competitive WOD’s and completed “Man Vs. Man,” a Deadboys Workout that was awful. I also beat my friend, so I’m the man.
Even though my running times are getting faster and my lifts are getting heavier, I still felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Even when I tried on an outfit and it was two sizes smaller, I still felt defeated. I promised myself I wouldn’t get in this place again and here I was, fat again. I felt like a hypocrite, because I keep telling my 12 year old when she complains about her least favourite class that she’s right at the end, and you wouldn’t just sit on the ground 50 metres from the finish line, so you gotta push and finish strong. But here I was, ready to throw in the towel because I didn’t feel like I was improving. I was trying to be positive, but just felt like a failure, until I took this week’s progress pic. I noticed what I thought were small changes in my waist and thighs. So I decided to do a comparison from eight weeks ago & was shocked.
There’s a fairly big difference! It’s not where I want to be but it’s a big start! I forgot that with weight loss, it’s easy to get discouraged because you look at yourself in the mirror every day and it’s hard to really notice changes. But if you trust the process and remain consistent, you’ll get where you want to be. I’m pretty proud of the changes I’ve made and I’m gonna keep going. There are no more chips in the house. We eat fruit as a snack. I pack lunches. I’ve stayed on my running/fitness schedule & progress is being made. To top things off, I tried on a jumpsuit and it was a size 12, two sizes smaller than I’ve been. Maybe I’m not at the goal, but I think there’s lots to celebrate.
So, if you’ve felt like you’ve hit a wall with your attempts to get healthier, improve at work, school, or whatever you’re doing to try and be the best version of you, don’t stress, change takes time. Maybe you won’t see it right away, but you will, And when you do, you’ll want to keep going because you’ll be empowered by the change. So, even when you feel discouraged, keep on pushing. You’ll feel so much better when you do.
I never realize how boring my life is until it gets shaken up a bit.
I work. I raise humans. I go to the gym. I go running. I sometimes go out with adults. I continue to search for a “hard working conservative ‘Berta oil mans,” because that is obviously my type.
Follow me on Instagram for more gems @mhc2617
That’s my life in a nutshell. It’s honestly the most mundane life in existence. I’m about to plant a garden. I colour with chalk with the kids. My life is not interesting. Then, we had a shakeup at work and I was pulled from my comfortably boring life into a new location, with a new staff, and everything is different and you all know how I feel about change!
I’m always afraid of messing up. I love my job, and I want to do well. But I’m not good at coming in hot right out of the gate and I’m always afraid of disappointing everyone. I want to do well & be a role model to my kids and my colleagues and then I stress myself out. ALSO DID I MENTION I HAVE HAD NO CAFFEINE IN A WEEK AND I MAY POSSIBLY BE REALLY INSANE?!
Yes, change couldn’t have come at a better time, when I’m taking part in my annual “caffeine free, alcohol free, fast food free” May (with the only exceptions being Mother’s Day & McHappy Day). So, I have no vices to use to cope with stress. I have…tea.
Don’t get it twisted; David’s Tea is the absolute best place on Earth & Lavender Buttercream Tea is magical. But, as someone who stress eats, I can’t just go get some fries and feel better. I could, but I’ve made a commitment to seeing this through to myself, just like I made a commitment to be the best manager/cell phone boss lady. If I can’t put down the fries for 29 days, how am I gonna build a team and be awesome? I don’t have my vices. I’ll actually have to deal with the stress on my own! What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, literally everything. But, that’s not a good attitude. I need to learn how to actually cope with anxiety in a healthy way. Fries are never the answer. So, I made sure I got to the gym. I set a PR for my clean and jerk. That made me happy. I boosted my team’s morale. Came home and did yoga. I can’t keep going to the quick fix. Fries won’t help me be a better leader. Fries are just delicious. What WILL make me a better leader is actually being a better leader. Working on deficiencies. Getting team feedback. Feedback from colleagues. That’s what’s going to make me a better leader. Also, being confident. I was chosen for a reason & if I want to get to where I want to be, whether it’s personal or professional, I’ve got to carry myself like I deserve it. Then work to earn it. That’s the only way. But believe you can and you’re halfway there. Or something like that.
So, chin up buttercup, you’re gonna be fine, and while fries are delicious, you’ll never get to where you wanna be by stressing out and eating fries.
The suckiest part about training for a goal is the part where you realize you have a fuck ton of work to do to reach it and you cannot give up or you have to go back to the beginning.
While training for my 10k, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I gained weight last summer and driving means I don’t walk as often. So, getting back into the running groove has been a challenge. But, I’m gonna keep pushing, keep posting to my fitstagram (because no one wants to be bombarded with my fitness junk, but if you wanna follow, click here. If you’d rather follow along where I actually look nice, click here), and get better. Unfortunately, the only way to run faster is to actually just run more. And running is awful. But, imma push through until I’m 10k ready!
I promised myself that nothing would stop my progress. Not weather, not my own insecurities, not even nature’s douchecanoes; geese. But, I never realized that my ego could still be easily bruised. I was running, already frustrated by my pace, when some boys that know my teenager walked by and said loudly enough for me to hear over my music, “isn’t that (redacted)’s fat mom? Why is she running?”
Fat. Mom. Fat. Mom. FAT. mom. Every single aspect of my life was reduced to those two words; fat mom. Mom I don’t mind, I like being a mom. I get to be with my favourite humans. Their existence drives me to be better. Everything I do is to give them more and better than I had. But fat. WTF? I worked so hard not to be fat anymore and here I was, fat again. Who was I kidding? I’m not gonna make it 10k! I’m fat! So, like a mature adult, I sat on the curb and cried.
I don’t know why it bothered me so much. They’re teenage boys who my kid doesn’t even like! But it broke me down and here I was, a grown ass adult, crying like a little bitch. So, I went home Drove to Walmart. Ate a family size bag of Ketchup Chips. I ran a bath. I got in it and bawled. Every insecurity came pouring out; too old, too ugly, too slow, too weak. Sure, I ran 10k last year, but now I’m too fat! I’m a fat mom who is probably also ugly & is embarrassing to be seen with in public because of the ugly. You know, completely rational behaviour.
Once I was done being a little bitch, I stopped crying. After all, there is a scientifically proven method to stop being fat; do active shit and stop eating bad for you shit. Eating Ketchup Chips will not help me become less fat. Yes, I’m a stress eater, but there was a plethora of healthy, yummy things in my kitchen that I could have eaten. I let a group of teenage boys stop my run. So, the next night, I got up, and ran my 4km training route.
Was it my best? Hell no. But did I do it? Hell yes. Tonight I ran my 3km training route. Tomorrow is 5km. Still going to Crossfit three times a week. I’m going to do these things for me, while silencing the voice that says food is the answer, because it never is.
Words hurt, but only if you give them power. I control my body image and right now, I may not be happy with it, but it’s up to me to change it. I don’t go to CrossFit to impress teenage boys. I don’t run to impress men. I do these things because I want to look and feel healthier. I want to live longer and be a good example for my family. In order to do those things, I have to shut out stupid people who don’t actually matter to me in the long run, throw on PVRIS, and do the work. Absolutely nothing will ever get accomplished in life without doing the work.
My pace may not be what I want right now, but it’ll get there, because I am more than a fat mom. I’m a pretty good mom. I’m the okayest cell phone boss lady there is. My friends and cats seem to like me. And I may be a slow, weak crossfitter, but I’m still the 29681 fittest woman on Earth God Dammit. I am not going to let myself be defined by a three letter word anymore. I’m going to keep working to love my body instead.
But maybe the biggest takeaway here is that if you do see the fat person at the gym, or on their morning run, don’t be a dick to them. Don’t be a dick to that super ripped dude crushing the weights. Don’t be a dick to anyone actively working to improve themselves. Anyone who mocks someone trying to be better is actually a pile of insecure human garbage. If you need to resort to mocking someone who’s out there putting in work to be their best, maybe you should look in a mirror and figure out why you need to project your insecurities onto a person out there busting their ass. It will always say more about you being awful than them working hard.
It’s funny how things will change for you when you put what means most to you first.
I was working at a trade show this weekend with a friend/colleague and he told me he was so proud of how I’ve grown into my life over the last three years. I’ve learned a house, moved into my new home, really grown into my position, and built strong roots here. I mean, I guess. But isn’t that normal, to evolve as time goes on?
But one thing I have really tried to do is make my needs a priority. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. How do you make time for what you want to do/improve as a person without feeling selfish and evil? It’s been a work in progress, as I still have trouble saying no and leaving work on time, but I’m getting better every day.
I think it’s a mom thing. You always feel like you shouldn’t want time to go for a run, go to the gym, or even meal prep! Yes, I started meal prepping! It’s been great for my waistline and my wallet. It was also something “I just didn’t have time for” a year ago. Now, I make time. The kids help me make my lunches for work. They’re learning helpful skills and I’m getting stuff done. All good things. But we’re all taught that wanting time alone or wanting to make ourselves a priority is selfish, wrong, bad. This is beaten into us until we feel like even taking a bubble bath is taking time away from the family. But everyone deserves to live their best life, and sometimes that means you can’t put everyone else first.
I’m realizing it’s okay to say no, I need to focus on me/my family/my career. I don’t have to be “on” all of the time. I can absolutely take an hour to go to the gym. I can absolutely go for a run and answer the three calls that came in during my run when I’m finished my run. I can meal prep before bed. I can take my day off and clear my schedule to watch Becky Lynch main event Wrestlemania and win the Raw & Smackdown Women’s titles because the kids want their mom to hang out with them and cheer for Becky Lynch. I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to make myself a priority.
The more I take those few moments to make myself a priority, the more that happiness spreads into other aspects of my life. I’m happier at my job. I’m more confident when I’m out and about. I don’t get as anxious anymore. It seems stupid to think something as little as meal prep or 15 minutes of nightly yoga can improve every facet of your life, but it does. It’s another way of reminding yourself that you matter and you are important. If you don’t feel like you matter enough to give yourself value, why would anyone else?
So, don’t be afraid to take that time to do things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to say no when your cup is empty. You don’t need to give all of yourself to everyone all of the time, because very few people would do the same for you. You can’t run yourself down to please everyone else. Whether it’s taking the family for ice cream, going to the gym, or just sitting and reading a book, take time to put yourself first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong or selfish or bad. You deserve it.