Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Finding my Strength

For some reason, I have been procrastinating in writing a blog post for one of my biggest goals during my time of #funemployment.  I think because it's the one that I'm most excited about but the one that I know is the most time consuming and daunting.  My biggest goal for this time off is to get my health back on the front burner where it belongs.

For a number of years I was working hard through diet and exercise to lose a lot weight and to feel healthy.  In the May of 2014 I was at the lowest weight of my adult life and I was preparing to run my first half marathon.  I was the strongest I had ever been and I felt great about where I was.  I had finally reached a point where I looked in the mirror and I liked what I saw.  I was able to say, "if I don't lose another pound, I'm okay with that.  I like who I am.  I like how I look.  I'm the best Maia I can be."

As I sit here in my new apartment in Orlando two years later, I'm in a much different place.  I'm twenty pounds heavier.  I'm not anywhere near as strong as I was.  I'm not as happy about where my health is as I once was.  There are a lot of factors that go into my sliding backwards that I won't go into in this post as I've touched base on those factors before.   Why I fell is in the past and I need to look to the future.

I have two goals for this time off as far as my health is concerned:  1 - I want to lose these 20 pounds and get back down to my lowest weight, and 2 - I want to be strong again.

One of these goals is quantifiable.  I can easily step on a scale and see what it says back to me.  The other goal is a little harder to define.  How do I decide when I've attained that goal?  How do I know when I'm "strong"?

Technically, I've already attained my goal.  I'm strong and I know it.  I left a good job to voluntarily become unemployed because I needed to make a choice for my happiness.  Only a strong person can take this leap of faith.  Some might call me dumb, but I think it makes me strong to choose my happiness over my career.  And it's this inner strength that will help me find my outer strength.

So in order to help me stay on track and find my outer strength, I've set a goal for myself and it's a lofty one...  I've signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine Lumiere challenge in November.  This is a bigger goal than just running a half marathon.  I've done that before and I know I can do it again.  This is a goal to run a 10K and the very next day run a half marathon.  In a span of 48 hours, I will run a total of 19.3 miles.  Still not the length of a full marathon (I don't know if I ever really want to do a full...) but it's still a pretty darn tough challenge.  And to add an additional challenge on top of that, in order to run I am raising money for Save The Children, a charity that gives children across the globe the chance to learn and live healthy and happy lives.  My goal is to raise $1500, of which I've already raised $1000.  I'm pretty proud that I'm already 2/3 to my goal and that's because I have such wonderful and generous friends.  (In case you would like to donate, my fundraising page is here. )

Since the races aren't until November, that means that I don't have to start officially training until July, for which I am grateful.  It means I have a couple of months in which I can build up my stamina to the point to where I will feel ready to begin the long process to achieve my goal.

One thing that scares me is the burnout factor and that is something that I am going to work hard to avoid as I train for these races.  When I ran my half marathon in Edinburgh back in 2014, I didn't really run much in the months following because I burned myself out during the training process.  All I did was run and I didn't want to anymore.  This time around I'm going to be doing lots of different things that will help me achieve my goals.  I'm going to be biking, swimming, yoga, exercise videos like Jillian Michaels and yes, of course, I will be running.  Since my goal is to be strong, I can't neglect the strength training this time around.  I need to stop being afraid of the weight machines.  I need to learn to love them as well!

Something else that I'm going to reinstate in order to keep me on track for my weight loss goal is to start Weigh In Wednesdays again.  So, here are my official numbers:

Heaviest Weight (8/28/10):                   310.0
Current Weight:                                     241.7

Total Weight Lost:                                   68.3

That's where I'm at.  I have 21.7 pounds to lose to hit my goal of 220, but I have nothing but time and determination.  Two of the essential ingredients to successful weight loss!

So this is the goal that I will be devoting the majority of my time to over the course of the next few months.  You will be hearing me talk about my adventures at the gym, with my eating, with my new dietbet (yup, I joined another one - more on that in another post), and with some other possible new adventures I'm still mulling over.  I hope you won't get sick of it and of me as I find my path back to my strongest self.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Uber in the morning, Uber in the evening...

As you read in my previous post, I am taking some time off from the road and am going to be working on becoming the best Maia that I can be.

These past couple of weeks have included a large part of my journey and that was because it was an ACTUAL journey.  I moved all of my belonging out of storage in New York City, where they have lived for the better part of the past five years, and I moved them way down south to Orlando where I have decided to set up camp in the form of a permanent home.  This is the first time I have rented an apartment that is meant for solely myself.  I've only ever lived with my family or with roommates.  At the age of (almost) 35, I knew that it was time for me to figure out what living alone truly meant.  I have to say, it's going to take some getting used to.

When you have roommates, you always have someone to say goodnight to and to say "Good Morning!" to as you shuffle to the kitchen to make your first cup of coffee.  Especially without a job to escape to during the daylight hours, I am finding that I am spending a lot of time in my own head.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but for me it can sometimes lead me down a dark path and I will end up depressed.  I am doing my best to avoid that dark place as often as I can, so I've found some way to avoid that as much as possible.

One of the major things that I've decided to do is to become an Uber driver.  While I did save a bit of money during my last tour, I don't want to blow through all of it during my time of funemployment.  So this is a way for me to get out of the house, talk to some people (if they want to that is!) and make a little bit of money while I'm at it.

I had spent the last couple of months on the tour talking to as many of my uber drivers as I could to try and get an idea of what to expect.  It was incredibly nerve wracking, but I have gone driving a couple of times since I've been down here.  Everyone has been incredibly friendly and I feel pretty safe doing it.  I will say though, that the money is not exactly rolling in.  Orlando is incredibly spread out and there isn't really a central area.  When you get a "ping" for a passenger, you could drive ten minutes to them, drive them for about ten and then you're in the middle of nowhere and have to drive back to civilization.  I'm going to experiment with different days of the week and time of day and see when and where might be the best time to drive.  Luckily I'm not doing this to make money to pay all of my bills, more of a little bit of a buffer, or I would say it's totally not worth it.  Orlando is not a town where you could do this for a full time job methinks.  There are cities where that is possible, but not Orlando.

I am definitely going to have some stories to tell, of that I am sure.  I think I will post the more amusing ones on this blog, so keep an eye out for my Ubering Adventures.

Stay tuned for my next blog entry where I really get into what I hope will be a huge focus of my time off - running, training, losing weight and getting healthy again!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Hanging up my Boots and Heading to the Sunshine

Well, it has been quite a long time since I've posted on this blog!

I've been busy.  Over the last couple of years I finished working on one touring show, started a romantic relationship and started working on another touring show.  I've been go, go, going and have to admit that I've let myself go in more way than one.

At one point in 2015 I weighed 40 pounds more than my lowest adult weight of 220 that I had hit just the year prior.  I contribute this to a lot of things, but mostly I link it to stress of the new job and the honeymoon period of a new relationship.  Like so many people I know, when they get together with someone we come to the realization that so many of our social interactions revolve around food or alcohol.  Couple that with the fact that our schedules were off (while he toured with me, he worked primarily at night while I worked a lot of daytime hours) and so when we saw each other, it would be going out for breakfasts, or after the show at night for late night food (usually fried) and beer (he LOVES his craft breweries!).  I've since lost a lot of that weight and am now sitting at around 235 on the scale.  Certainly not where I want to be since I liked how I felt and looked at 220, but I have plans to take care of that, and that's what I'm getting to next...

While I appreciated working on the new tour, I always kind of knew in the back of my head that I was burned out.  After coming off of the last year of Million Dollar Quartet where we were playing as many as five cities in one week and with very to little no time off in between to rest and recuperate, I jumped straight into the world of Kinky Boots.  After about a year I hit my highest weight in 4 years.  I started losing some of the weight and that was great for a while, but it wasn't enough.  Finally in November I decided that this show had helped me to financially afford to take a bit of breather and so that was what I was going to do.

So, a couple of weeks ago I worked my last day with Kinky Boots.  I'm now in the land of unemployed and I'm now in the position to have control over my own fate in a way.  First things first - I need a place to live!

When I started touring, I decided that it would be silly for me to maintain an apartment in New York and worry about subletting it all the time, so I put my belongings into storage and I have been living out of two suitcases and a plastic trunk for the past five years.  That was really wearing on me this last year.  We had a number of weeks off this past fall when the tour didn't have an engagement and I had no choice but to either visit with friends and family or to take a vacation.  Sure, that doesn't sound so bad in theory, but think about how you feel when you are tired.  Where do you want to be?  If you said in your own bed, you're correct.  Unfortunately I can barely even picture my own bed anymore!  When I decided I needed to get an apartment again, I had to think where I want to go.  After our rehearsals for Kinky Boots, I realized that New York was not the place for me anymore for a multitude of reasons.  My friends had pretty much scattered across the country and I wanted to pick a place I knew people already.  My boyfriend lives in Columbus, OH but we discussed it and he doesn't want to stay there for very much longer but isn't in a place to move for another 6 months, so that was crossed off the list.  I visited my good friend Beth and her wife Abby in Orlando, and really kind of enjoyed it.  There is a lot to do (even outside the Disney and Universal realms), beaches are just an hour drive, there is a good airport, etc, etc.  So I decided Orlando is the place for me!  I mean, if I hate it, I can always move.  I'm not decided on living there for the rest of my life, but I am very much looking forward to settling down for a bit!

I have lots of things that I have planned during my time of "funemployment" (sorry you are probably going to get sick of me using that word) and I will continue to share them here.  I hope that you will join me on my adventure of moving, running, knitting and losing weight.

Not necessarily in that order.

Stay tuned!!