Day 119, Movie Quote 10: “Back to the Future”

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. – Dr. Emmett Brown

Last week I got to the campus gym and lifted twice. I was able to lift heavier the second session because I was able to better gauge how my body was feeling after the first lift.

On Saturday, I went to a new gym, tried out the equipment, bought a membership and came back on today for a second workout.

I’m pretty proud of myself.

I know that sounds weird because I constantly talk about finding what works for your schedule and for your goals.

But for those who have been around for a while, you know this is a big deal. For those of you who are newish let me explain why.

Today is one year since I last competed. The week leading up to the show, which was the final show of my season I had broke down emotionally, which led to half-ass workouts and binging. I gained nine pounds my peak week, partially water and partially real fat gain. You could see it in my legs. You could see if in my abdominals. You could see it in my face.

I could feel it everywhere.

I also lost my voice on show day and two days later was diagnosed with pneumonia leaving my PCP’s office with antibiotics and an order for a chest xray to confirm, which it did.

Finals soon followed. I slept a lot. Backed off my work outs even though every ounce of me wanted to find motivation.

I feel I can finally let go.

Next month marks one year Instagram free. The account was my personal account that shared my day and my passions – mostly revolving around fitness, food and my boyfriend also periodically showed me traveling in my previous career as well as my day-to-day. I’ve been writing for almost six years, and I had Instagram for almost four. It evolved as I did. However, so did the users.

I have screen shots of private messages, emails and comments from people saying things that you know would never be said in real life. But we are all brave behind a screen. Even me.

This blog. Facebook. Texting. These platforms help build confidence and for me that confidence has spilled into my reality.

People say competing is hard, but it’s not. It’s all of the other things that you juggle while competing that are hard. School was pretty easy, school was an outlet – like running away in a good book. Coaching was the same way. I was able to dive into work and escape. I was able to help analyze other people’s goals and problems, which made me face my own. I was honest with my clients and continue to be. It is because of our own trials that we are able to empathize and assist others.

In June I was diagnosed with chronic stress, which resulted in elevated adrenal hormones: DHEA and cortisol. I had hormone testing because my PCP thought there might be something else going on. Thankfully, after seeing an endocrinologist in August and having a more comprehensive panel done, there was confirmation that I was just experiencing high levels of stress. My weight peaked high 140s, which was the highest I’ve been since hitting my weightloss and fat loss goals.

I was physically uncomfortable and emotionally battling with myself about it.

If you look back, I’ve written posts about and loosely talked about what I was doing to essentially “get my shit together”, but more over, what goals I had for myself to get back to a more normal lifestyle.

I love lifting, but I needed a break. I started doing yoga, I got back to running. I started doing more accessory work instead of big lifts. I canceled my gym membership and utilized the gym on campus when I could. I use the fitness center at my complex too. I looked to be more mobile on a daily basis. I sit a lot and I wanted to strive to hit a moderate and reasonable step goal. I started looking at my goals from an emotional point-of-view. Yes, I wanted to lose some weight, but I wanted to feel good and I thought if I could feel good in my workouts, do things that were fulfilling, then in time, the fat would come off and I would feel good in my skin again. I just needed time.

The new year brought consistency – keep moving, get strong. I wanted to say yes more, which I’ve been doing, but also being reasonable with my yeses. We can’t have dessert for every meal.

A few weeks ago, I woke up and everything felt different.

I woke up and felt ready to move forward in a big way.

I wrote a letter, well it’s 2018 so really, I wrote an email.

When I took medical leave, while I was open about it here, I knew there were some who didn’t understand. When I left my job it appeared abrupt even though it wasn’t – I knew people wouldn’t understand. I wasn’t ready to make them understand 19 months ago, 16 months ago.

This email started with “I never thought I would feel capable of writing this…” In the middle was something about understanding that not everyone understands, but emotionally I wasn’t ready to help someone else understand. The end concluded with I hope there’s an opportunity to talk in the future, but I understand if that idea isn’t welcome.

These words took the elephant off my chest. Five minutes after writing it I had a response thanking me for the email, for the outreach. Saying they weren’t ready yet, but that in time, maybe.

Even if that conversation never happens knowing I’m ready is enough. Knowing the olive branch has been extended is enough.

Since I sent that email, I’ve felt different. I’ve also had the conversation with JP and with my therapist that going back to school for my degree in public health was also about finding myself and reigniting passion in my heart. In a way, it was an extension of medical leave. It allowed me time to learn something similar and something new. It allowed me to challenge myself and grow. It allowed me the time I needed to figure out how I can make my mark on the world because I really do believe that we are all meant to do something great, we just need to define that for ourselves.

I’ve been feeling more capable than I have been in a while.

As far as coaching and writing – I’m making headway on the workbook I’m writing, and I’m working with someone to do the design work. I’m taking on new clients and working towards a full client load since I have more flexibility in my schedule after school is done.

As far as school – I’m ready for finals. I’m ready for my last class.

Adult life? I’m ready for job applications. I didn’t think I would be ready for interviews, but they’re going well and getting easier.

Physical health-wise: I’m feeling good with the progress I’m seeing. It’s slow and that’s just the way I wanted it. Like I’ve talked about on Facebook, for vanity reasons, I’d like my hips to lean out a little bit. I’d like them to be where they were before – about an inch smaller. That’s not the smallest they’ve been, but that’s where I’m comfortable. I’m hitting my nutrition goals just fine, and workouts have been pretty good, however, anyone in a FitBit challenge will tell you they kick my ass left and right.

I’m ready for the next step.

I’m ready to see what I can do with this degree.

I’m ready to see the impact I can make on the world around me with this new knowledge of health.

I’m ready to get back the kind of normal grind.

I’m ready to continue to pave my own path.


❤ Cristina







Recipe: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

I owe you this recipe. A few weeks ago I went on a chicken salad kick, mostly because I love dill and this was an easy way to get in some protein without a ton of carbohydrates. I don’t like to put food into categories – I want to eat what I want when I want it, so chicken salad and tuna salad are often snacks in this house.

Like most of you, the weekends are for grocery shopping and meals are a moshposh until that happens. So we were looking at all the parts that we had in the fridge and tried to figure out what we could do with them – that’s where the cinnamon raisin bread in this recipe came into play.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad for Two

What You’ll Need

  • 8 ounces of cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grapes, chopped
  • 4 slices of bread (I used Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin)
  • 1 teaspoon of dill weed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Oven or toaster oven


1.In a medium sized mixing bowl mix cooked, cubed chicken, Greek yogurt and dill weed. I had seasoned my chicken when I baked it, but it can be plain as well. Mix thoroughly.


2.Mix in chopped grapes. I quartered our grapes because they were large, but whatever size you prefer. Depending on the size of the bread or if you choose a wrap may not need to quarter them.


3.Mix in walnut pieces. I put my walnuts in a bag and used a meat tenderizer to break them into smaller pieces. I’ve found that using a knife can be a long process and dangerous if your knife isn’t sharp enough. If you have walnut or pecan pieces already you can skip this step.


4.(Optional) Toast your bread! For a hearty sandwich, I find that they can fall apart if there’s a lot in the middle, so toasting helps prevent this. I put my toast in the toaster oven for 2 minutes at 300 degrees. You may not need to toast for this long, again, it’s preference.

5.Add half of the mixture onto your toast and serve!

Nutrition for 1 serving: 372 calories, 10F/39.5C/37P

  • Fats decrease without or with less nuts
  • Carbohydrates change depending on bread/grain type
  • Protein changes depending on amount of chicken

Day 98, Movie Quote 9: “To Make Something Special You Just Have to Believe It’s Special.”

Mr. Ping: The secret ingredient is… nothing!

Po: Huh?

Mr. Ping: You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient.

Po: Wait, wait… it’s just plain old noodle soup? You don’t add some kind of special sauce or something?

Mr. Ping: Don’t have to. To make something special you just have to believe it’s special.

[Po looks at the scroll again, and sees his reflection in it]

Po: There is no secret ingredient…


Imposture syndrome.

Being enough.

These are things I’ve talked about a lot before, but as the semester winds down, these words and phrases keep creeping in. I know there are a lot of other students getting ready to graduate – all different ages that are feeling this way. I know there are people out there looking to change jobs that also feel this way.

New is scary, but new is necessary.

I started looking for jobs in February and started applying at the beginning of March, but this past week as I’ve been looking through descriptions, reading through organizational missions and sending applications and emails into cyberspace, I find myself questioning myself all over again.

While I have no issues blogging or talking on Facebook live, it’s a different ballgame writing cover letters and interviewing.

I fear that I’m not doing enough.

I fear that what I am capable of isn’t enough.

I fear that I’m in a gray area with my professional experience as a manager, a fundraiser, a strategic planner and my education. I am qualified for many jobs I’m looking at, but that doesn’t make cross-referencing my experience with descriptions less nerve-racking.

Can other job seekers raise their hands?

It’s when these phrases get into my head that I get worked up and frustrated. It’s here when I have to force myself to step back and think of everything that has happened the past decade – fieldwork, jobs, volunteering and conference presentations… relationships, scholarships created, programs designed and implemented and then evaluated. There’s a lot and I forget it all the time.

Undergrad seems so far away, my master’s seems like yesterday and I’m excited to be here, but I’m in awe of how I arrived here and how fast.

There’s no magic pill or special directions to follow.We create opportunities each day. We do what we can with what we have.

We are the magic. We just need to believe it. If we believe then others will too.

So for the next few weeks, along side my physical health goals, I’m planning time to sit down and journal at the end of the week to reflect on everything that I’ve accomplished and how I feel about progress.

I ask my clients to reflect about the good and the bad and everything in between, but I need to take my own advice and get it down on paper. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the feeling of incapability, but I’m working on it.

Acknowledging it and talking it out helps even if it’s just with myself. I have a few pages left in my journal before I need to find a new one so I might as well fill those pages before starting a new part of my life.

Then the hunt for a fresh journal will start.

So for today, I’m doing what I can with what I have with the time given. Things will fall into place when the timing is right.

❤ Cristina





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