Friday, November 21, 2008

Where have I been?

Lots of folks have asked me where I have been since June. Frankly it's a question I have been asking myself too. I can give you all the reasons I have been too busy to blog and you'll believe me:
- My husband and I separated. While my mother-in-law was living with us.
- I've been negotiating custody of our 2 1/2 year old. Still unsettled in my mind.
- I have welcomed into my home - my nanny, her husband and her 18 month old; a 17-year-old high school exchange student from Argentina who's here for a year; and a friend's husband who has been living with us during the weeks.
- The company I work for was bought. I got a promotion and (just for fun) a demotion. However, I believe I saved my job.
- I have been on 6 work trips in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York and Dallas.
- My commute went from 5 minutes to 45 minutes in May and in November went from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes.

I am sure there is more but this is a lot of what I have been dealing with.

I decided that divorce, custody, and saving my job were more important than taking care of myself and consequently stopped going to the gym and completely stopped questioning negative beliefs. The great part of this experience was a vivid consciousness that this was what I was doing.

"Oh," I'd think. "I am choosing to neglect myself, interesting." And then I would go on with the business of self-neglect.

I'd see a book or magazine article about self-care and think: "hmmm, I know how to do that, wonder why I'd not."

But I never tried to break the cycle. I just tried to watch it. Until one day, I packed a lunch and headed to the gym. Not exciting or dramatic. No epiphany. I just WANTED to take care of myself again. And that's how it's been the past few weeks. Delicious self care, more of me to go around, and incredible amazement at how the mind is mastered.

Anyway I saw this great article today about a woman who has lost 175lbs and this advice from her blog completely reminded me of what I have learned about myself in my weight loss journey.


Things I've learned about losing weight:

* Workout everyday no matter what. Even when you are tired and are feeling bad. Those are your best workout days, you have more energy and feel better after your workout.

* Count calories and write everything down. Writing everything down makes you accountable. One of the links I have is an excel spreadsheet to calculate how much you eat at each meal and how many calories you eat each day. I own a scale that you can input a code for different foods and it tells you how many calories are in them. It takes figuring the calories out for yourself out of the equation.

* Drink half your weight in ounces of water per day. For example: if you weigh 200 pounds you need to drink 100 ounces of water per day. I marked my water bottles in the beginning to keep track of how much water I had drank.(Yes I recycle the bottles.)

* Stay away from salt and processed foods. Use fresh as much as you possible.

* If you can't be honest with other people, be honest with yourself. Sometimes it is the hardest thing you have to do.

* Ask for help if you need it. People are so willing to be part of the success, that they will help you as much as they can. There are some people who will sabotage you. If you have them in your life, tell them how you feel and if it doesn't change, limit your time with them as much as possible.

* Write a journal and take pictures. You will be so happy you did. When you don't see a difference in the mirror, you can look back at where you used to be. It also works when you put your beginning picture side by side with your now picture.

* If you go off your program get right back on. Don't wait until tomorrow, or Monday, just do it after you take a breath, and don't beat yourself up for it. No one is perfect.

* There are only bad excuses not to workout.

* Once you set your foot in the gym, everything else takes care of itself.

* If you are not sweating, you're not pushing yourself hard enough.

* I will have to work on my program the rest of my life. There are no shortcuts to healthy living.

* Being obese is so much harder than getting fit.

* Let the world see who you are under all the protection you wear.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I mentioned in an earlier post that I chose the word to represent me. It seemed right at the time, but I guess now that I’ve had the thought: “Opening is a good word for me.” I’ve begun to open even more.

The Ropes Course is located near the resort we stayed at last year. I know the area very well so it surprised me I’d never seen it before. What do I mean? Well, I guess last year I was so in my head about hating the out of doors that I never actually noticed them. I didn’t notice what a gorgeous spot we were in. When we pulled up to the Ropes Course yesterday my heart skipped a beat.

“Were these mountains here last year?” I asked Jen.

She laughed. “I thought it was odd you never mentioned it last year. I talked about how beautiful it was here with just about everyone else.”

Of course the mountains were here; I hadn’t shown up.

At the beginning of the challenge, Jesse, the Ropes Course owner shared his favorite Wayne Dyer quote with us: “When you change how you see, you change what you see.”

I knew this was true for me. As I changed and opened, I was seeing so many things I’d never seen – the mountains, the sky, my authentic self. It was all laid out for me to see.

This retreat has been a time of deeper opening for me and a time of acknowledging all the new things I have enabled myself to see by thinking new and better thoughts. And the best thing about opening is that it’s a process that goes infinitely. Imagine how much more there is to be seen!

Unwilling to Be Coached

Brooke told me I was unwilling to be coached today. She’s never said it before and I guess I was stung and stuck by it; but I believe in Brooke and her coaching style and I don’t think she’d say that if it weren’t true.

I’ve been asking myself all night if that thought is true – was I unwilling to be coached. Somehow I know the answer is yes but I can’t see my way through my story to that truth.

On the Ropes Course, I went half way up a pole. It was so much harder physically than I expected. I wasn’t scared, but I was discouraged I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was. Still from the moment I said I couldn’t do it, I took 3 more steps. When I was lowered down I felt great for pushing myself beyond what I thought possible and then Brooke reminded me my weight made this challenge harder. I had fantastic thoughts of my success.

Then in a coaching session, Brooke said she believed I could have climbed up the pole 5 times and the only reason I couldn’t was my thought I couldn’t.

“What do you think you would have done if you didn’t have the thought you couldn’t do it?”

“I guess I’d keep going until I threw up, passed out, or made it to the top.”

Brooke pressed on – what if you didn’t have the thought you might throw up or pass out.
We ended up locked in an argument that ended with Brooke kinda giving up with me. At least that’s how it felt.

“Your thought is – I couldn’t make it up the pole and that thought makes you happy because it makes you feel right. So we are going to let you keep it.”

With that the coaching session was cut short. I’ve never seen her do this to anyone before and it really took my breath away as I tried to figure out what I made that mean. My first thoughts were really painful – Brooke doesn’t believe in me. I am not worth believing in. Brooke doesn’t understand me. Brooke is being difficult. I am sick of this work and I’m just going to quit – that’ll show her. The thoughts kept coming. (Reread now with the turnarounds in place – I don’t believe in myself. I am worth believing in. I don’t understand Brooke. I am being difficult. – these were some pretty spot on thoughts.)

Jennifer was her typical brilliant and generous self letting me go on and on about it but not letting me get too deep into my own story before bringing me back to the work.

“What’s the lesson here?” “How can you turn this around?” “What if you were at your physical limit? What does that mean to you?”

I processed her questions and my own until I remembered how the conversation started…. It was about separating circumstance from thought. I was saying I was good at that now and so

Brooke asked me what the circumstance was on the pole. “I was at my physical limit.”

“Nope,” said Brooke. “You could have made it to the top. Your thought stopped you.”

I couldn’t see that at all last night. But this morning I see it’s true. I could have made it to the top. My thought stopped me. This idea – the idea I could have made it to the top was hard for me to get to because in the coaching session it felt very painful because it caused the thought, I’m a failure. But that thought, ‘I could have made it to the top’ is actually very exciting good news. If I can get my head out of the way, I can make it to the top. I was not determined and here’s how I know, I never asked myself to dig deep. I never asked myself to find the strength to keep going. When Brooke gave me the option to go one more step and come down, I took it. I gave her the power to limit me because the fact was I wanted to be limited. I didn’t want to keep going.

There have been times in my life when I’ve been so focused on something that nothing could stop me, but climbing up that pole was not one of those times. Now, I was physically exhausted, I was hungry, I was in pain; there were lots of circumstances conspiring against me being focused, but that’s like life.

Knowing I could have made it to the top and didn’t make it there could mean I failed, but it doesn’t to me. To me it means I met the limits of my thoughts; and the great news is I am only a thought away from the top of that pole.

(Not) Late for A Very Important Date

Ten months ago Coach Lisa asked me to do the "Pass-Me" Bridge at the Squaw Valley Ropes Course with her. Yesterday I fulfilled that promise and made it across with a sweet kiss in the middle. Actual picture to come. Thanks Lisa for helping me make a dream come true for myself!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smarter than your Average Fog Eat

I came on this retreat with one, clear goal – to find the neural pathways toward a life without mindless eating when I’m not hungry (what Brooke calls fog eating). Today, I had a chance to work on that goal in one of Brooke’s typical “Attack Coaching” sessions. The thing about Brooke is that she just puts her thumb right on your thoughts and then holds you down. Her confidence in herself and in you seems to glide you onto the next level. Working with her is hard, she doesn’t let you get away with anything, but it’s also like flying. She lifts you off the ground with her love, compassion, and joy of doing this work.

In her unique way, she was lifting me off the ground with her questions.

Brooke: What result do you want?

Me: To be free from fog eating.

Brooke: What action do you need to take in order not to fog eat?

(Oh, this is gonna be easy, I thought, I know how to play this game.)

Me: In order not to fog eat, I need to stay connected to myself before I eat. To do that I’d need to think thoughts like this:
• Nothing is too much for me.
• I can handle this immediate moment.
• I don’t need to stop the thinking.
• I can clear the slate without eating.

With thoughts like that I would feel resourceful, confident, competent, and clear. I would stay connected and not fog eat.


Oh oh oh – so much easier said than done. What’s standing in my way of changing my thoughts? The belief that fog eating is somehow helpful to me. When pressed, I realized that I have a secret idea that my fog eating is actually productive. Fog eating helps me calm down, press the reset button, rethink my current circumstance and start a-fresh.

Brooke made her move: “With Angela, the best way to coach her is with mockery.”

So she started this list to show just how productive fog eating made me:

1) Eat without awareness
2) Eat food that doesn’t fuel me
3) Burn time
4) Zap my energy
5) Feel super crappy
6) Beat myself up after

I hated looking at this list, but she’s right. The idea fog eating makes me more productive is total bullshit. I am just hanging on to this thought – this thought that not fog eating is too hard. And there is absolutely no intelligent reason for it.

Here is where Brooke worked her real magic.

“Tell me about MORE SUCCESSFUL ANGELA (MSA). What makes her VP material?"
Oh I rattled off my answers – so many of them where to start? I’m:
• Productive
• Smart
• Efficient
• Organized
• Resourceful
• Make good decisions
• Prioritize
• Put things in order
• Strategic
• The list goes on and on….

I should have known what was coming. What else? A turnaround! She opened it up to the group.

“What’s the opposite of Productive?”



The list of opposites went on and on with the girls getting more and more animated:

• Scattered
• Clueless
• Bad decisions
• Not ordered
• Mismanaged
• Dumb

Then Brooke asked me:

“Okay Ms. VP, what do you call a not very smart entry level person?”

My answer rolled off the tongue…. “a monkey”

“Great! A DUMB MONKEY I LOVE IT,” Brooke jumped up and down like an animal. “That’s who you are when you fog eat!!! A DUMB MONKEY.”

Is feeding your body food you don’t need or food that’s not right for your body Smart? Efficient? Resourceful? Of course not! In so many areas of my life I am brilliant – oh, but not when it comes to fog eating. When it comes to fueling my body, I’m a dumb monkey. My thoughts have been telling me I can’t stop fog eating and me, little miss argumentative, I just take the orders and stuff my face without questioning for a minute if this thought is serving me. I surrendered myself to my thoughts and believed my thoughts about fog eating were uncontrollable.

So, here are my new thoughts:
• I am so much smarter than fog eating.
• I am so glad I am not a monkey.
• I am never dumb now.
• I never fog eat now.

I am strongly adverse to the idea of being a “dumb monkey” I don’t think it’s at all cute or funny; it’s just a stark reminder of this lie I have been telling myself over and over – that I need to fog eat; that I WANT to fog eat; that I deserve to fog eat.

Fog eating keeps me overweight and being overweight keeps me from my true potential. No chance to fail because I’m holding myself back. Brooke of course tied this all into my career aspirations.

I can hear Marianne Williamson telling me I’m playing small with the universe and so the universe is playing small with me. She’s telling me to show up for my own life.

I want a seat at the big kid’s table so I can make good strategic decisions, but I don’t make good strategic decisions about fog eating in my own life and I AM the president of what one attendee referred to as You, Inc. I am the President and I’m not making good decisions at all.

Imagine there is a board meeting and Lazy, Stupid, Smart and Efficient all show up. Who would I listen to? When I fog eat, I’m taking advice from Lazy and Stupid. Of course I’m not getting to the next level in my career, I can’t even run my own body effectively. There is a chicken and the egg here but it’s kind of irrelevant. If I want to change my life – and for that matter if you want to change yours – you just have to change your thoughts. You can do it now, or later, it really doesn’t matter; but strategically speaking, I recommend the former so you can amortize your joy over a greater number of years.

Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Succeed in Coaching Without Really Trying

Brooke asked me to take a look at my current definition of Career Success to see if I can revise the thought to something genuinely true for me but that does not cause pain.

: Achieve progressively advancing responsibility and reward while minimizing risk.

Proposed: Earn a living in interesting positions in which I thrive and enjoy.

I told Brooke I felt successful but that I wanted to be MORE SUCCESSFUL – that there was more I could be doing which I felt ready for. So Brooke asked me about Miss More Successful. “How would your life be different if you were more like Miss More Successful?”

Miss More Successful has one key thing I don’t have – a seat at the “Big Kid’s Table” at work. She is a part of high-level corporate decisions and her duties are more strategic; therefore her impact at work more significant. If I had that seat I would be challenged in a way I am not now, I would be less restless and searching for my next thing. If I had that seat I would be able to participate in a more meaningful way and I think that means that the company would be more successful. My ideas would be heard by the right people and I’d get to hear those same people put their ideas forward which would give me a ton of new information about business and myself. I feel like I would be able to grow personally faster that I can in my current position. I’d have a little more money but I’d be building equity toward and even more lucrative future.


I don't know though - there is something about coaching that when you hit on a big one you know it. I am having angst about my career. I feel I should be further along than I am based on my experience, intelligence, education, and age. This is the thought that is causing me pain - not that I am not further along. I get this. If I didn't have that thought I'd be fine with where I am. Where I am is totally fine. It's wanting more that causing the pain. This new definition I wrote - it is true, it's just not more true that the fact I want more and that's the thinking that needs to be undone. We'll see if we get to work on this at all while I'm here, if not, I have a feeling this thread will be with me for quite some time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tahoe 2.0: Off the Grid

There is nothing easy about being a blogger with no Internet access. I'm sitting on the steps of the Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, getting eaten alive by mosquitos as I steal Public wifi. The house we are staying at has no phone or Internet access what-so-ever. I know, I know, I am supposed to be focusing on myself and my own personal growth opportunity; but it turns out I have come to see access to the Information Superhighway as a right not a privilege.

Other than the lack of connectivity, the house is gorgeous (see pics above) and the women participating are an interesting mix. A few folks are here from last year - I guess 5 of the 12 women in the room (including Brooke) were here last year. Of the new folks, 2 are coaches though Brooke has asked both of them to participate fully and is including them in all our activities as equals which makes for an interesting dynamic as neither appears to have weight issues. For me, the "skinny bitch" phenomenon is no more - all that work paid off. It's nice to see so clearly that we've all got issues and weight is not as special as I once thought. The other 5 women are fairly new to the work, but on this first day have clearly started this deep dives.

We had 2 coaching sessions today and one creative activity. The major thing that came up for me was about career. Basically I'm saying I'll be happy when I reach the next level of my career, but of course, the opposite is true - I'll reach the next level of my career when I'm happy. So I'm going to do some homework on that tonight and I'll post it to the blog tomorrow morning when I leave the house to catch some exercise and check in with the outside world.

The activity we did was basically to pick our "word" a word that represents us where we are right now and to paint it along with a picture of our "inner body" (ala Eckhart Tolle). I painted an electrified "OPENING" because that really is my word. Opening to the possibilities of everything - my life, my body, my family, my career, my relationships - I am an early spring blossom stretching its petals in the early morning sunlight, and I do find it a most delightful place to be. I remember when I was in Labor with Jesse wanting to scream "OOOOOH FUCK!!!" but instead I kept forcing myself to change the thought - and the scream to OOOOOOOOOOOOOpening. It was a much better thought than this kid is splitting my person in half.

The big breakthrough today though was not mine. It was Miami J's (MJ). MJ has been providing room and board for her adult daughter for roughly a decade too long. Today - in front of our very eyes - we watched her realize that no, this was not providing her daughter help. It was not a gift or an act of love and benefiting her or her daughter in any long term way. MJ's thought was: IF I DON'T HELP MY DAUGHTER FINANCIALLY, SHE COULD DIE. We worked this turn around with her for an hour, but at the end of it, it was pretty clear the opposite was true, and MJ took a sharpie out of her heart and crossed out the word DON'T. I gotta say there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

More updates from "Brooke House: Off the Grid" tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Heading Back to Tahoe

This blog was started 9 months ago when I was headed to my first retreat in Lake Tahoe with my Life coach Brooke Castillo.

Just 9 months later I have lost a total of 60 lbs. and gained more physical and emotional strength than I could quantify. I head back to Lake Tahoe in a few days and I'm looking forward to the emotional deluge of spending time with Brooke and the other women to peel back the layers of my onion.

I'll be blogging my experiences all back here so stay tuned for some intense "Retreat" posts. I'm really looking forward to this year's adventure and I'm glad to have you along for the ride!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Race Report: Lathom Tri

Racer: Angela Lauria
Race: Marilyn Lathom "Homegrown" Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 18, 2008
Location: Reston, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Female 35 - 39
Time: 2:19:20
Overall Place: 35 / 47
Gender Group Place: 21 / 30
Comment: Virgin No More

Race Report: Last November an idea came into my head: “I’m going to do a triathlon.” It was a silly idea because I hadn’t been swimming in about 4 years, I did not run, and I had never ridden a bike in my life. I decided though it was a good 5 year goal. I asked myself, what would I be doing today – in November 2007 – if I was going to do a triathlon in the summer of 2011.

I talked to a marathon runner and a triathlete at work, one of them loaned me the book Triathloning for Mere Mortals. I took a look at that book and decided I was lower than a mere mortal because the book was way over my head. I took a fitness test with Susan Hefler at Spokes who looked as surprised as I was when she assessed my good aerobic conditioning (especially considering I tested while I had pneumonia). I went to a Triathalon clinic conducted by Sharon Adams. I starting training with Brian Crow twice a week. What all these folks had in common was each of them told me I would be able to complete a sprint distance triathlon – not in May 2011, but in May 2007. I could move my goal up 4 ½ years. And so I did – mostly on blind faith in my work friends, the author of that book, Susan, Sharon, and Brian, and of course, in myself.

I worked hard for 6 months, learning the most basics about fitness and especially about biking which was a complete pandora’s box for me. I push myself hard and now it was race morning. I showed up at the Reston Community Center feeling fantastic and 100% ready despite a sprained ankle which was a week old and almost pulled me out of the race completely. Thanks to great advice from the Tri-RATS and the medical care of Dr. Bihn at Dr. Su’s acupuncture practice, I was able to nurse my ankle back to race-ready health.

Swim :25:33 (Goal :28) I trained for my swim at the Reston Community Center and so I thought the swim would be easy but my nerves were all over the place. I split the lane with a woman named Sue (hi if you are out there) and we both agreed we’d complete the swim in about 27 minutes. I don’t know if she was trying to psych me out or what but no sooner did the whistle blow than Sue had lapped me. I thought we’d be at the same pace and here she was blowing me away. Or wait – maybe she wasn’t – maybe I’d been counting wrong all these weeks. I wasn’t going to do the swim in 27 minutes, it was going to be 34. Wait, how long is my 50 again? My monkey brain got the best of me. I was doing fuzzy math, beating myself up, and swimming Sue’s event instead of my own.

Heading into the second length of lap 9, I was tapped on the shoulder… by a ghost. Yes this is the supernatural part of my race report so bear with me. This event is named after Marilyn Lathom who died 15 years ago I believe and whom I never met, but she tapped me on the right shoulder just as I was about to touch the wall. She was laughing and said, “oh relax! Have fun would you! No need to be so serious” and with that, the race finally began for me. I stopped swimming for Sue and started swimming for me. I enjoyed every stroke after that and felt I had an angel with me – I guess we all did. I PRed the swim by almost a minute.

T1 :03:55 (Goal :05)
When I was deciding if I could do a triathlon, I read some things Jaime Roberson had written. I started Google-Stalking her so I could suck up anything she’d ever said, as if her confidence and commitment could bleed off the page and into my heart. I was lucky enough to meet her at the Worldgate Sprint and when I saw her the morning of the Lathom Tri she suggested I take the transition easy. I could have tightened the time up here but the time I took helped me keep my head on for the bike which was hands down my biggest concern.

Bike 1:01:57 (Goal 1:05)
I got on the bike feeling great and much calmer now that I had Marilyn with me. I road onto Colts Neck and turned on South Lakes without a problem, I was feeling strong and had made my decision to stay on South Lakes even wit the milled surface. The road was quiet and I felt confident. Turning onto Twin Branches I was getting in my zone. Half way down glad my marathon-running friend from work, Fred Krazeise drove by with his wife – both of them cheering out the window of their car. The uphill on Glade about killed me but I kept pedaling pulling into my core and rounded back onto Colts Neck. I fueled at one hour into my event as per the plan – 1 bottle of water and 3 Cliff Shot blocks. This time when I turned onto Twin Branches I had a surprised 3 of my best friends were standing in front of Lake Audobon, with pompoms. (god I’ve got the best friends!) Finishing the bike was becoming a more and more likely prospect though I was cold and my left ham string was cramping up. I kept pedaling anyway but by this big uphill on Glade I was ready to quit. I didn’t though. I just kept pedaling all the way to T2.

T2 :02:25 (Goal :03:00) HYDRATE. I knew I had to drink no matter how much I didn’t want to. So, this time I gulped down 16 oz of an energy drink and tried to stretch out my left ham. I threw on a t-shirt with my number on it and started out on the run.

Run 45:30 (Goal :44) The run felt great. I was back on my own two feet, my hamstrings were relaxing, I was warmer and man, I was moving! Maybe it was the endorphins but I felt great and was totally in the moment high fiving other runners smiling at every man, woman child, and dog out on South Lakes at that hour and hoping the rain would continue to hold off. It wasn’t until I got to the turn around point on Ridge Road that I realized my problem….the run out was mostly downhill. The way back killed me. The first half was okay but by the time I hit Soapstone I had decided I would walk, that was all there was to it. And then, shining in this distance were Fred and his wife Jody. Fred ran the last half mile with me complaining the whole time and then, just 200 yards or so from the finish, I sprinted. I still missed my goal for the run by a minute and a half, but the sprint at the end was a hopeful sign I still had more in me even though I felt beat.
21/30 women
35/47 overall

I am a triathlon virgin no more. I met my goal to complete the event and exceeded my time goal, which was 2 ½ hours. This was a great way to start. I was mentally and physically prepared and preserved even when my sprained ankle made it seem impossible. Best of all almost two weeks later I am still floating and picking up the pace on my training so I’ll be ready for the Reston Tri in September!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Did I say 9 minutes faster than my goal? I meant 11!

Well, the numbers are in and there is no denying it. I am a goal exceeding machine! My final time was 2:19:20!

Based on some goal setting advice from the lovely and talented Sharon Adams of Rising Sun Fitness, I set 3 goals for myself for this event - I accomplished Tier 3 without a problem - that alone would have been a success. I checked off Tier 2 as well - in fact, I exceeded it - which was amazing. I missed Tier 1 but that was a my reach goal and with an sprained ankle and it being my first time I felt okay about that too.

Here were my goals.

Tier 3 Goal – Finish the race! And to hold my head high across the finish line – no negative self-talk about what I could or couldn’t have done differently. [This was my tier 3 goal but it was not the easiest. I executed this one brilliantly and it's the goal I am most proud of.]

Tier 2 – Complete in 2:30 minutes – that’s a little stretch but also very achievable. (30 swim; 60 bike; 45 run; 15 transitions). [Actuals were 25:33 swim; 61:57 bike; 45:30 run; 6:20 transitions - total: 2:19:20]

Tier 1 – Be on target to complete the Reston Tri on Sept. 7th in 4 hours (22:30 swim; 59:20 bike; 37:45 run - total: 2:05:55 with transitions) - I felt short of this by about 13 1/2 minutes. I could find 3 of that in transitions which leaves me with 10 minutes I need to find in 4 months. Doable!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feeling the Post-Race Love

One of the surprising side-effects of completing your first triathlon is a lot of folks in your life will say a lot of very nice things to you. If you are the type of person who is motivated by this it might be a reason to do a tri. For me, doing this triathlon was all about setting a “Wildly Improbable Goal” and actually reaching it. That said, the words of praise and appreciation from my co-workers, friends, family, coaches, and fellow followers of the Brooke Castillo Church of Self-Love have been overwhelming and I wanted to share them with you here. This will be a long post but it will give you a sense of how you might feel when you complete a goal that is in line with your North Star.

Congrats from Co-Workers

------ Forwarded Message
From: Fred
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 12:47:10 -0400
To: voxant_staff
Subject: Congratulations to Angela

Hey everyone,

I just want you all to know that our Angela completed her first triathalon this morning. Angela was one of about 50 athletes competing in the Marilyn Lathom "Homegrown" Triathalon in Reston. Angela successfully complete a 1K swim, 20K bike run and 5K run. She even beat her goal time by 9-minutes!

She may be just a little sore when you see her tomorrow. But not to worry . . . pain is temporary, pride lasts a lifetime. Congratulations Angela. You're a rock star! :)


------ Forwarded Message
From: Carisa
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:50:07 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: RE: Congratulations to Angela

Congratulations Angela! What an accomplishment. J

------ Forwarded Message
From: Catherine
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:54:46 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: FW: Congratulations to Angela

So very cool!

I didn’t think the event was till the fall, you have a lot to be proud of !!!

------ Forwarded Message
From: Courtenay
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:04:47 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: FW: Congratulations to Angela

As Dick Vitale would say, “Awesome Baby!!’


- CC

------ Forwarded Message
From: Steve
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 12:49:01 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: RE: Congratulations to Angela

Congrats Angela! That is really impressive!

------ Forwarded Message
From: Sienna
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:34:48 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: RE: Congratulations to Angela

This is really an awesome achievement Angela! Makes me want to go for the same! (I think it’s beyond me but your doing it makes me feel I can too! One day…)


Sienna J

------ Forwarded Message
From: Ricky
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:47:22 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: RE: Congratulations to Angela

Congratulations, Angela!

You accomplished an amazing feat. I know I couldn’t do a triathlon. Running a mile knocks me out.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Stephanie
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 10:34:44 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: RE: Congratulations to Angela

You Rock! I’m so happy for you and as a fellow mommy (and, uhum, 30-something), so proud!

------ Forwarded Message
From: Michael
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 10:12:33 -0400
To: Angela
Subject: FW: Congratulations to Angela

Who knew?


Love from Friends

-----Original Message-----
From: Dara
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 8:01 pm
Subject: RE: I did it!

SO exciting!!! Wish I could have been there – didn’t get back into town until 2:00. BIG CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

------ Forwarded Message
From: Heidi
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:34:48 -0400
To: 'Angela Lauria'
Subject: RE: pedal until you're tired...

You’ve got to be just bursting with pleasure.

Ah, that impulse to sprint, it’s such a great one, and such a sign of your body and your mind being lined up together. And once you do it, it has the added advantage of pumping endorphins into a system that was already feeling pretty damned great. Ah.

That kind of thing doesn’t happen to everybody, and I’m so glad you got yourself there. I hope the Shenandoah thing works out, that could be so fun. Keep training!

What did you eat? If it was biking alone, I could have predicted ravenous hunger precisely 2 hours after your stopped, but I don’t know what happens with THREE lunacies.



-----Original Message-----
From: Sally
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 12:21 pm
Subject: I was there

In Spirit!!!

This morning I had to literally say to myself "Sally, prioritize, time with family or be at the finish line for Ang?" Of course it was not easy because I wanted to be there for you, then I remembered that just the idea of me and the others being there was going to help you get through to the finish, so I relaxed knowing that you would understand and that you are definitely not alone. I love you and I am proud of you and I knew you could do it!!!

Love you!

-----Original Message-----
From: Kortney
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 10:48 am
Subject: Re: I did it!

What a wonderful accomplishment. I am so proud of you : )

-----Original Message-----
From: Daphne
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 9:03 am
Subject: Re: I did it!

Congrats! SOOOOO very proud of you! Girl Power.

Let's catch up soon.

Love you

-----Original Message-----
From: Rachael
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 8:56 am
Subject: RE: I did it!

That is so awesome! Quite and accomplishment. You are glowing in the picture (rightly so).

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 8:57 am
Subject: Re: I did it!

wow...that's INCREDIBLE

------ Forwarded Message
From: Laureen
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 18:39:13 -0700
To: Angela
Subject: RE: I did it!

I am so proud of you, I could just bust!! Just got off the phone w. Ker who gave me scoop from the cheering section! My god, what an achievement, Girl!!! You just bust balls!!! Such big congrats…

I love you!!!!



Praise from Dragon-Slayers & Other Disciples of Brooke

-----Original Message-----
From: Loreen
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 11:36 am
Subject: RE: Message on Race Morning

CONGRATULATIONS ANGELA!!!!! I am so proud of you! What an awesome achievement this is – on so many levels! I really admire your determination and commitment! Way to Slay! I get goosebumps just thinking of you sprinting across that finish line with the cheering of the crowd J I am so happy for you!

Love, Loreen

-----Original Message-----
From: karen
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 9:47 am
Subject: WOW!!! Way to go!

Way to go, Angela! I am so very proud of you! What a great personal achievement!
You are my "Today's Hero". I am going to smile all day thinking about your pictures and the look of pride in your face. Love to you and Jesse, Karen T.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jamie
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 2:30 am
Subject: RE: I did it!

I have to just say…….YOU ROCK!!!! I am so impressed and amazed at you. Talk about a 180 with exercise!!! I am sure you are still either A.) high as a kite or B.) dead in bed. Either way you should be so proud of yourself! I know I am!!

Take care,



-----Original Message-----
From: Ellen
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 11:43 pm
Subject: Re: I did it!


-----Original Message-----
From: Suzanne Hansen
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 11:06 pm
Subject: Re: I did it!

WAY TO GO love the pictures, you look fabulous and are radiant!!
You are inspiring me to set a goal!
Love ya,

-----Original Message-----
From: Heidi
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 9:13 pm
Subject: RE: I did it!

WAY TO GO!!!! I am soooooo proud of you, Angela-you rock!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 7:57 pm
Subject: RE: I did it!

I am so so so so so proud of you! You looked beautiful and strong and fabulous. :)


-----Original Message-----
From: Kim
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 7:41 pm
Subject: Re: Message on Race Morning

I have always known what a powerful woman you are Angela, and this will prove it to yourself. What power to know you have participated in a TRIATHALON. You will carry this with you as you accomplish ANYTHING else in your life you want. Mostly, (of course you are done now) have fun. All the work of the training is done and today is for basking in the accomplishment because the race itself is not the accomplishment--all the work that you faithfully did to prepare is the big prize. So proud of you Miss "I hate exercise" KIM

-----Original Message-----
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 7:47 am
Subject: Re: Message on Race Morning

Wow, Angela. I'm so excited for you! To accomplish something like that when just last summer you were not too excited about exercising, is really amazing. I can't wait to hear about your adventure. I hope there are pictures of you over the finish line too! Here's to you, Angela! Kathy

-----Original Message-----
From: Irene
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 7:38 pm
Subject: Re: I did it!

Oh My Gosh Angela - YOU ROCK!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing achievement and making me a feel a part of it even though I wasn't there - physically, that is. Unbelievable that this came from the same woman who swore up and down that she hated to exercise when we were on a walk in Tahoe.....You are an inspiration! Love you tons, Irene

-----Original Message-----
From: Coach Lisa
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 10:01 am
Subject: Re: Message on Race Morning

I've been thinking of you this weekend, my friend, too... remembering its your big day... What you've been working toward for months.

Can't tell you how friggin proud I am to know you. You are an incredible inspiration to so many... But most to yourself!

I'm thinking of you today as you show yourself more of what you're made of... And can't wait to hear about it!

Rock on girl!



Pride and Joy from Family

-----Original Message-----
From: Mom
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 11:20 pm
Subject: Re: I did it!

I am extremely proud of you and your accomplishment. Sorry I didn't get to talk to you, but I hope you got the message I sent. You had great support and you never fail to amaze me. Love you with all my heart, Mom

-----Original Message-----
From: Dad
To: Angela
Sent: Mon, 19 May 2008 8:01 am
Subject: Re: I did it!

Congratulations: What a month for you. Purchase a new home and run a marathon....THAT'S MY KIND OF A MOMMY. You did great something you will remember for ever. We are so proud of you.

We Love You
Dad and Barb

-----Original Message-----
From: Gina
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 9:19 pm
Subject: RE: I did it!

Congrats from Toby, Cleo and me! We are sooooo proud of you. You rock. No, really. YOU ROCK! Wow! Now, that is inspirational. And, it's getting to be that time...I need to read a book, go to a conference, make a video board. Something.

Good for You!

------ Forwarded Message
From: Toby
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:09:03 -0400
Subject: Congrats


I know Gina told you I said congrats, but I wanted to say it myself… CONGRATS!!!

Love ya!



Empowerment from My Dream Team

------ Forwarded Message
From: Brian (Personal Trainer)
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 04:18:43 -0700
Subject: your race

You Rock! How’s the ankle? Time now for reston and open water! Congrats. U did great!


------ Forwarded Message
From: Sharon (Running Coach)
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 09:33:27 -0700
To: Angela
Subject: RE: FW: I did it!

congrats angela!

-----Original Message-----
From: Brooke (Weight Loss Coach)
To: Angela
Sent: Sun, 18 May 2008 9:45 pm
Subject: Re: I did it!




(You look amazing by the way.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Did It!

Well - it's official. I am a triathlete! I completed my first tri in 2 hours and 21 minutes - which was 9 minutes under my goal. I haven't received all the official split times yet but I know I set a personal record with the swim which came in at 25:30 - my best in training was 26 (usually more like 28!) I felt strong on the bike even though I just learned how to ride in MARCH!!! My left hamstring was a bit tight but I stretched out before the run and tackled the 5K with gusto. The best part was all the high fives I got from other runners on the course! The last half mile I decided I couldn't run anymore and I was going to walk. Just then I saw my friend Fred (with the beard in the picture). He's a marathon runner and came to meet me for the final stretch. We ran together and I SO did not quit. In fact - I sprinted the last 100 yards. The crowd went WILD!!! So wild we didn't get the picture crossing the finish line (sorry about that). Apparently I was the only one to sprint to the finish. Once things calmed down we took this great shot with my friends who came to cheer me on. They followed me along the race course and made their presence felt so I kept pedaling harder. I'll post a full race once I have my times. I've put up a small collection of pictures in case you want to see what I looked like on race day.

Good Day Sunshine

It's Race morning. 5am. I've got all the transition bags packed. I am pretty confident I haven't forgotten anything. I did a test run and bike yesterday and I am feeling strong. I am going to run my race in the present moment. I found an email from November 28th when I signed up for this event. It felt crazy then but now it feels 100% authentic no craziness about it. It was my friend Marcy who helped me see I was making the idea crazy by calling it that.

I'm not as nervous as I thought I'd be. I ate great yesterday and slept great last night. Hopefully those are good signs for the race. I need to go eat though - it's 2 hours before I get in the pool and start my quest to become a triathlete. If you want to see the results or details about the event you can find it at the Lathom Tri Website!

Amazing friends are coming to support me - Kerric, Jenny, Rachan - thank you guys!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm an athlete

Last Saturday I went for a bike ride in beautiful Rock Creek Park with my friend Heidi. I was trying out new pedals and I fell. I had a grade 1 ankle sprain just 7 days before my first triathlon. I spent a lot of time this week asking myself what that sprain meant to me. And a lot of time nursing the sprain with physical therapy and ice so I might be race ready. I'm proud to say I will be suiting up on Sunday for my first ever triathlon. It's a long way from I HATE EXERCISE in August. Just 9 months later I'm doing a tri. And maybe more importantly, I am an athlete.

My sprain was the most amazing gift because it taught me something about people who love and take care of their bodies. Having never been in that category, I had spent a lot of my life thinking I wasn't worth nice clothes, or expensive gym memberships, or that I didn't have the time to go to physical therapy every day for a week. But when you put yourself first, it's clear how to take care of yourself. Just like I know what my son needs to be taken care of, I know what my ankle needs. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and.... self-love. I am an athlete and I took care of my ankle as well as an athlete deserves, as well as I deserve.

I've learned, not only, how to bike and run in these last nine months, but how to listen to my body and give my body the love and attention it deserves.

Now, my ankle and I are going for some last minute training right now - an easy swim and a light jog.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Eleven days until my first triathlon - wanna come?

My amazing friend Jenny has arranged a bit of a support team to cheer me on at my first tri. I know you can't come, but take a look at this sweet evite she put together.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brooke Castillo is the Best Coach for Weight Loss in the World

You guys all know I am a Brooke Castillo groupie. I make no apologies for that. A Martha Beck master coach, Brooke has lead me to an amazing new relationship with myself and I am so grateful to her for her tools and techniques. She has a free Self Coaching service you should all check out. And she has a blog where she just posted a recent email I sent to her about my conversion from being a taker at the gym and expecting the gym to make me skinny to realizing the gym is a doorway to self-love.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Her Name is My Name Too!

I am I ran a 5K (my first) on Saturday. And I was very slow. In front of me were all the runners - behind me were all the walkers. I was in the middle and I started to feel something about this that was negative -- like I should be faster or I should just walk. And then it occurred to me how amazing the middle is - I realized that I am someone who runs even though it's harder; someone who challenges herself at things she isn't currently good at. I am someone - I have chosen to be someone - who goes for what she wants instead of settling for what she can more easily have.

On Sunday I went to a tri-training clinic and I met this woman who didn't know how to swim who was doing a tri next week. She was a real bad swimmer and kept apologizing for it to me. And then I looked at her and said - you know I'm not the fastest swimmer - but I'm not as slow as you. But you are a much braver swimmer than I. This isn't a bit hard for me - or scary - or risky. It's just a swim. I'm not great, I'm not bad, I'm in the middle, doing the swim and waiting for the bike ride. But you, you should be beaming with pride when you swim because you are
doing something 99.9% of people would never do - pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone - beyond your skills even - and that - that is what makes you a triathlete. So you enjoy your swim in next week's triathlon and know that you are the best swimmer out there - no matter what your time is.

She cried. We hugged. And then I told her I had no idea how to ride a bike and we laughed our asses off.

I have no idea what her name was.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Help BOLD Get Funding

Shortly after having my son, I got involved with a maternity rights group called BOLD. BOLD is an organization that uses the arts to inspire social action. The organization has been operating for the last 2 years, has made a great impact on local communities that have participated and has been growing by leaps and bounds!

BOLD has two main projects, first is the Performance & Talkback Initiative in which communities perform Birth a play by Karen Brody, which is a documentary style play about real women's birth experiences. Afterward, each community hosts a talkback panel at which local leaders discuss with the audience their own community's maternal child health concerns. Our second project is called BOLD Red Tents. This is a birth storytelling and oral history project. At BOLD Red Tents community organizers create a meaningful and trusting environment to allow women to give voice to their birth experiences, get support and learn from each other.

We recently applied for some funding and need help (votes) securing it. There is information at the following website about the award we have applied for:

The process is very democratic - winners are the ones with the most votes! I hope that you can take a minute to go to the website and vote for BOLD. The award would be the first real infusion of cash to our efforts and would make a very real difference in our success!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Live-Action Turn Around

When I first starting working with Brooke "Why Can't I Lose Weight" Castillo I was surprised by how little we talked about food and exercise and how much time we spent on thoughts and feelings. "I have a weight problem," I'd say. "You have a thinking problem," she'd respond. So it came to pass that I would spend most of the last year learning to observe my thoughts. Find their connections to my feelings and actions. And learn to turn the thoughts that made me fat into thoughts that lead to me being fit. All that's well and good, but changing your thoughts leads to consequences far beyond weight. When Brooke said I had a thinking problem - I thought she meant my thoughts about food were screwed up but she just meant my thoughts were screwed up.

Changing my thoughts has lead to some interesting work improving my collaboration with co-workers. This week I have been practicing a new technique I learned which is called a "Contrasting Statement" and when I read about it in a book called Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et al; I really was sure it would not work. The idea is this "When we're aware that something we're about to drop into the pool of meaning could create a splash of defensiveness, we use a Contrasting statement to bolster safety - even before we see others going to either silence or violence" (80).

It's a two part sentence that goes something like this:
"I don't want your to think X; I do want Y."

The first time I tried this I was shocked... my husband had been watching our son and I knew it was a hard night but was was annoyed and snapped at him about something. Defensiveness (a lack of safety) came into his eyes and I knew we were no longer talking about content:
"I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate how well you took care of Jesse tonight..."
"I just want us to be able to agree on a bed time for him that is consistent."
FINE. DONE! No Fighting!!!

I took the technique to work. A co-worker proposed a new program that I had some suggestions for but didn't want to come off as too heavy handed.
"I don't want you to think for an instant that I don't recognize the thought and care that went into developing this program."
BAM! Resistance down, ears open.
"I just want to make sure that we are clear about who are constituencies are an what each of them needs."
DONE! Mutual Goal agreed on! Progress!!!

The first few times I tried this technique I felt like an 8 year old with no front teeth; awkward, uncomfortable, totally out of my element. But every time I have practices it, I am shocked by the effectiveness of this simple technique.

Even today our company President was discussing a new process and I had an idea I wanted to contribute a perspective I thought he was missing but I knew he'd be sensitive to the suggestion:
"I don't want you to think I am missing all the work and the lengths you are going to to include everyone in this emerging process;"
"I just want to make sure you have considered this from the customer's perspective"
HICCUP - that was my goal not a mutual one.... ears still on but defense creeping in.
"To clarify, I want to make sure we develop a consistent process where we can make sure we are learning everything we can from our customers."
SIGH - agreement on a mutual goal and a clear commitment to seek a mutual purpose.

I know it might not seem like this has much to do with weight loss - but weight loss is a symptom of right thinking (when you are overweight anyway). This type of work on creating harmony and clarity is a key to happiness with the present moment. And what's so great is that it actually works and it's so easy!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Life Story. Yours too?

I'm reading this great book called "Standing at the Crossroads Next Steps for High-Achieving Women." Amazon suggested I might like it and yet again they were right. (Jeff Bezos, are you reading my diary? oh that's right, yes you are.) I found quite a gem in this book, it's an autobiography of sorts... it's by Portia Nelson. Chapter 5 was a total revelation for me - can't wait 'til I get to that part of my story!

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I m lost... I am helpless. It's not my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it's there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit... but my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Dream Team

I've only recently become an Oprah devotee. Thanks to Tivo, I get my Oprah fix every morning when I get home from the gym. It's a major treat that keeps me motivated in my workouts each day. Someone told me once Oprah had a theory about dream teams and that everyone needs a dream team of their own. At the time that sounded like rich people mumbo-jumbo to me. My chef, maid, hairdresser, and butler... uh, yeah. But recently I realized I have an incredible dream team - I've hired them with care and I am so proud to surround myself with these amazing people.

Brooke Castillo - Weight loss coach extraordinaire Brooke Castillo has been my ferry(wo)man back to me. She helps me connect to my authentic self when it seems my authentic self is living on an island far, far away. She has passed tools of self-awareness on to me that I have no choice but to take with me for the rest of my life - and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jeanette Eleff - My executive business coach has helped me find my inner leader. No, not the one my mom told me I should be, but the leader of my heart and she is so not what I expected and yet so authentically me. She creates a space where my natural self bubbles to the surface and then helps me name my truth.

Brian Crow
- My personal trainer, fitness guru and triathlon coach, Brian, reminds me weekly I am so much stronger than I think I am when he isn't around. He has challenged me to push myself hard consistently because it feels great when you accomplish your goals.

Myriam Davila - The amazing Myriam has been cleaning my house for seven years now. She is sweet, loving, and so much better at cleaning than I am. She keeps my house looking good so I can focus on things I am better at. I'm so lucky to have her in my life!

Jackie & Sibyl from Shapes - I've been going to Shapes Salon & Day Spa for 5 years. Cybil is a new addition to my dream team but she keeps my eye brows from overtaking my face while simultaneously making me laugh in our bi-monthly 20 minute waxing sessions. Jackie is a dream stylist. She cuts and colors my hair, makes me smile, and let's me come back between cuts for touch ups whenever I want.

Dr. Lori Kaler - Yes, my OB/GYN is on my Dream Team. How do I know? I look forward to annual pap smears and feel better, and not worse, after I spend time with her. Her office staff empowers me to take an active role in my health and Dr. Kaler makes me believe a better physical me is always possible. If you are looking for a great OB/GYN in Bethesda, I couldn't recommend her more highly.

Dr. Jezelle Sonnier
- I know what you are thinking: "You like your dentist enough to put her on your dream team?" Hell yeah! First of all, I love spending time with Dr. Sonnier because she is stunningly gorgeous to look at - even through safety glasses. She is a New Orleans native with the most stunning Cafe au Lait skin with these cute freckles. She is smart and sassy and best of all, she keeps my teeth healthy without causing me pain. I like that in a dentist.

Who's on your Dream Team? Are you excited when you see them? (If not, they may not be so dreamy...) Do you feel like you HAVE to see them? Like it's a chore or a necessary evil? Or like it's a dream opportunity. Your Dream Team is a reflection of your thoughts and what you believe is possible for you. Put people on your Dream Team consciously. Make sure they are fulfilling the role you want them to and make sure when you spend time with them your authentic self sings.

Be Honest: Do you hate exercise?

For most of my life I hated exercise. I dreaded gym class, played inside, and picked my college based on the fact it didn’t have a phys. ed. requirement. Periodically, I would give exercising a try. I'd go to the gym dutifully for a week or two, spending most of my time there just wanting to die inside when I would look over at the lean girls in their cute outfits and expensive sneakers. I was in a t-shirt and shorts with tennis shoes I’d gotten in back high school. Considering how intermittently I exercised, I told myself, it really wasn’t worth the money to buy nice things.

My weight fluctuated between 150 and 250 lbs but after having my first baby, my weight reached and all time high and didn’t seem to be going anywhere but up. The day I had my baby I was 315 lbs. – an 85 lb. gain! A year later I was still skimming the 300 lb. mark and the weight was making it hard to enjoy being a mom. I vowed, once and for all, to “get to the bottom” of this “weight problem.”

Five months later I had shed about 40 lbs and to celebrate, I treated myself to a seminar based on the work I’d been doing with the book “If I’m So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight.” My intention was to stop hating exercise so much.

At the seminar, there was a “ropes” course challenge. I knew climbing a thirty foot poll only to face a tight rope walk was not for me. I sat it out. Later that night, most of the women were on cloud nine celebrating their accomplishment. Another woman shared my lack of enthusiasm. “I never would have done it,” she said, “if Theresa hadn’t asked me.”

“Oh,” I said, quickly, “if Theresa asked me I would have done it.” Somehow the scary parts of the course melted away in my mind at the thought of doing it for someone else.

On hearing that, Brooke retorted, “YOU didn’t ask YOU.”

She was right. Why would I have been willing to scale a 30 ft. poll and walk across a tight rope for Theresa – a woman I had only met a few days before? I was willing to take a physical risk for someone else’s approval and pleasure, but not for my own.

I thought of the number of times I promised myself I’d go to the gym and then broke the promise. I would never break a promise to a friend! But what if I changed the paradigm, what if I asked myself to work out as if it was Theresa asking instead of beating myself up that I should go. I returned home from the seminar and did just that. I invited myself to the gym every morning as if it was my best friend asking me out for dinner and a movie.

The day I was able to jog for 10 straight minutes it occurred to me. It wasn’t a thought or a decision, just an occurrence. I’m going to do a triathlon. We’re still a few months away from the event and my workouts have increased considerably.

I’m jogging and lifting weights for an hour minutes almost every day, swimming and biking a few times a week, and I just plopped a couple thousand dollars down on a fancy carbon road bike. I hired a trainer who I see 2 times a week for additional core strength workouts. I say things like carbon road bike and core strength work out! I even bought more than one cute work out outfit and an expensive pair of sneakers.

I’ve gone not just from someone who hated exercise to someone who loves it. I’ve gone from someone who doubted her abilities to someone who has confidence and excitement about what’s possible. I’ve gone from someone who put herself last, to someone who puts herself first because I know I'm worth it!