When Instagram Doesn’t Let You Say Everything You’re Feeling

It’s still only about 6:30pm on Wednesday as I’m writing this, so technically, I can still get it under the wire for a Wednesday publication date. WHEW. I wasn’t sure where to start with my post for this week, but I wanted to revisit some thoughts I started hashing out on instagram earlier this week. Sometimes, you need more than a caption to articulate the full breadth of what you’re thinking.

I’m in a weird season of life where things to be simultaneously moving very quickly and at once not at all. I feel busy, but then I also feel… bored? (The boredness, I’m certain, comes almost entirely from the fact that I am still struggling to find people here, so I have full on conversations with my cat.) I’m also grappling with a lot of anxiety about what the next few months of life will look like as we continue this transition to life on the West coast.

This past week has been an emotional one for me, in a way that I haven’t quite felt in years. The last time I can remember feeling this “whelmed” by life was maybe after finishing my undergrad, but coming to terms with the fact that my law school dreams weren’t going to come true in the way I’d pictured them. Over the course of about two months, I completely changed my life path: I went from planning my Fall matriculation as an 1L, to moving home, working two jobs, deciding not to shoulder another $120 thousand in student loans, and then moving again to work on a political campaign. 180 degrees from where I thought I’d be, but all the while I managed to stay positive and felt secure in my decisions.

But there’s nothing quite like moving across the country and completely upending your life to give you ample time for reflection. The last time I moved across the country, I was excited and hopeful and looking forward to the opportunities. This time? I tried to find that same sense of optimism. Before we left Virginia, we did a lot of talking about the ways in which our lives would change – the opportunity to learn and grow in a new workplace, the freedom to put our finances in a comfortable place, to build a new community. We talked about the challenges associated with those things, too, but we were confident that we could handle whatever arose.

What we didn’t talk about as much was how we would cope if things weren’t what we had prepared for. What if Clay’s new job wasn’t better than what was left behind? What if opportunities were extraordinarily difficult to come by? What if it just wasn’t at all what we had hoped and this big change felt like a colossal mistake?

Two months in to this adventure has us asking some of these questions and really leaning in to some of the fear and insecurities that were a bit easier to quiet before we left our comfortable bubble. In this moment, I’m experiencing an enormous amount of vulnerability. I feel a lot of fear about things that I can’t really articulate at the moment. There has been a lot of reflecting, along with lots of tears, frustrations, and fears that have been given space to be felt and (hopefully) learned from. I’m grateful to have a partner that values communication and deep thought about the things that challenge us and our relationship.

This move has been harder on me than I expected. I don’t admit to defeat or weakness easily, but it would be disingenuous of me to say anything other than the truth: I’m well outside my comfort zone and adjusting to this new place is more challenging than anticipated. I’m anxious about a lot of things. I’m scared about others.

But. But – after this weekend, though I’m still feeling scared and anxious, and emotionally exhausted – I feel better knowing that we’ve put words to our fears and concerns. We’ve given them names and now we can start to tackle them one by one. It will take time, it will mean being uncomfortable. It will also give us space to grow – like a lobster shedding its shell. Still feeling anxious and fearful, I’m working on releasing the tensions of the weekend and breathing in some resiliency. One step at a time.

Over the River, Through the Woods

Did you hear??! Probably not, because it’s just became official, but I’m moving to the mountains! I am the soon-to-be owner of a lovely acre-and-a-half near Rocky Mountain National Park. Here’s a little update via vid. Lemme know if ya have any bear tips.


I can’t wait to buy things like snowshoes and cross-country skis. Maybe even a canoe!


2016 has been one helluva year to date.

My father passed away after a 10-month battle with leukemia. My business moved to a brand-new office building, uprooting me from my home-away-from-home for the last 14 years. And the biggest life change – my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I know this post is long overdue, but where to start?

My dad, an Ecuadorian who moved to United States in the 1950s to attend university, had a spectacular life. A mapmaker by trade, he lived 85 years and remained positive throughout his last year, despite his terminal diagnosis. He died in February, and I was fortunate enough to spend several days with him and my mother the week before he died. At that time, I shared our news – that he would have a grandchild.

My dad was thrilled. He couldn’t get over it, as I’m the youngest of his four children and I’m what the medical community politely refers to being of advanced maternal age…a geriatric pregnancy.

You see, my dad and my pregnancy are linked. I don’t like to talk about it and hesitate to share even here, but it’s time to take a leap of faith.

The day I found out dad was sick, I also learned I was pregnant.

The day I helped tell my father he was dying, I learned that my pregnancy wasn’t viable.

The day I learned dad’s chemotherapy had stopped working I also learned I was again expecting.

Less than two months later, he passed away in my parents’ Pennsylvania home.

Dad was what I’d call a true gentleman and an incredible storyteller. He was quirky (who isn’t?) and intelligent, but lived for his loves – most importantly my mother. He was dedicated to his job and would have been honored to see dozens of former co-workers from across the country lovingly share stories as they attended his memorial service.

I know he is still with me, as I can feel his love and guidance regularly. I am heartbroken that he will not be able to hold his grandson.

As for me, I’m nearly done with the second trimester.

The first trimester was physically exhausting. The second was mentally draining with all the changes and adjustments, but I’ve been blessed with a wonderful network of family and friends who have simply been incredible.

Since just before dad passed, I’ve felt good – the energy returned when I most needed it and I’ve slowly realized I need to slow down a bit –  and I have.

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

Vic at nearly 25 weeks. Almost to the third trimester!

In mid-April I outed myself at work, as I could not longer hide my rapidly-expanding waist. I also launched a new series about prenatal fitness, starting with yoga.

Now, I’m looking forward as my husband and I prepare for the birth of our son. I’m blessed to be able to share the journey with my cousin Keith and his wife Laura, who are expecting their first child (a girl!) in July, and my brother-in-law Andy and his wife Diane, who are due in September.

We’ve been purging the house of unneeded items. We’ve been preparing the nursery. We’ve been spending time together, relishing our last months as a couple.

It’s a whole new world.


I’m a fan of routine. I like it. I crave it, even. Most of the things in my life have been there for years and years, have integrated themselves into my day-to-day so that they’re second nature. I hardly have to think about it. I’ve been very, very comfortable.

But for me, comfortable turned into safe. I told myself when 2014 rolled around that I would shake things up, that I would put myself out there and make decisions that would challenge my status quo. I was hoping that some opportunity would come along that would force me to be decidedly uncomfortable.

That opportunity did come along in the form of a job offer and yesterday was my last day at the company I’ve called my second home for nine years. For lack of a better phrase, I grew up there. I was fresh out of the gates of college when I started there. I got engaged while I was there, got married, had a kid. Ticked away my 20s and welcomed my 30s there. I worked – and became great friends – with some of the most incredible, smart, funny, talented people there.

It was a really, really good place to grow up. It was not an easy place to leave, but  sometimes the things that aren’t easy are the things we need in order to keep growing. It’s easy to be comfortable. It feels nice to know what your next step is, what your minutes look like every day, exactly how your time is filled. But there is also a real exhilaration that comes along with forcing yourself into a new normal.

The end of an era in my comfy seat (with a great view).

The end of an era in my comfy seat (with a great view).

I’m sharing this with all of you because sometimes we all need a nudge to be brave and get out there, to blaze a new path, even if it means getting a little bit burned along the way. That’s how we learn and grow. If you’re thinking about doing that thing you’re scared of, intrigued by, itching to do but not really sure about because it’s kind of uncomfy, I say do it. Let it scare you and overwhelm you and then do it anyway, because you’ll be amazed at your bravery and it will just spur you to do something else. It will turn into an avalanche of discomfort and bravery! That sounds fun, right? I promise it is. And it’ll be worth it.

2014 is turning into a year of newness and change for me: a new job, a new haircut (okay, fine, that’s a little superficial, but hello, it was like six inches), a half marathon on the books for August. I’m excited – and scared, if I’m being honest, which I always try to be with all of you – to see what other new things will come my way. I can’t wait.

What new things do you have on the books for this year? Is there something you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t yet? Have I spurred you into action?? Talk to me in the comments. 🙂 



It’s been a while, huh? Life has been a bit nuts, as it tends to be. A couple months back, it just got to be a little too nuts. I needed to take some time to really focus my attentions on my family and my job and ME. My chicks were totally wonderful and told me to take the time I needed. So I did. Things are more calm now, or maybe I’m just managing the storm a little better. Either way, I’m very glad to be back, AND I have something interesting to talk about.

The Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

Say what? I know, it’s a mouthful.

I went to a seminar a few weeks ago at work on how to fit fitness into your busy life and they discussed this idea. We’ve actually had a series of these seminars, which I have organized for the company, and I’ve taken something away from each of them. But this? This really stuck with me when I left the room and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, I did some research. Meaning I read the Wikipedia article on it.

This model of change was developed back in the late 1970s by a doctor and his colleagues at URI. I’ll give you some more details below, but in short, it is the idea that change is a process that happens in a specific set of stages.

Do me a favor? Think about a change you want to make or are trying to make or have made, and then read through the stages below with that in mind.

The information below is taken directly from the article on Wikipedia.

Stage 1: Precontemplation (Not Ready)

People at this stage do not intend to start the healthy behavior in the near future (within 6 months), and may be unaware of the need to change. People here learn more about healthy behavior: they are encouraged to think about the pros of changing their behavior and to feel emotions about the effects of their negative behavior on others.

Precontemplators typically underestimate the pros of changing, overestimate the cons, and often are not aware of making such mistakes.

One of the most effective steps that others can help with at this stage is to encourage them to become more mindful of their decision making and more conscious of the multiple benefits of changing an unhealthy behavior.

Stage 2: Contemplation (Getting Ready)

At this stage, participants are intending to start the healthy behavior within the next 6 months. While they are usually now more aware of the pros of changing, their cons are about equal to their Pros. This ambivalence about changing can cause them to keep putting off taking action.

People here learn about the kind of person they could be if they changed their behavior and learn more from people who behave in healthy ways.

Others can influence and help effectively at this stage by encouraging them to work at reducing the cons of changing their behavior.

Stage 3: Preparation (Ready)

People at this stage are ready to start taking action within the next 30 days. They take small steps that they believe can help them make the healthy behavior a part of their lives. For example, they tell their friends and family that they want to change their behavior.

People in this stage should be encouraged to seek support from friends they trust, tell people about their plan to change the way they act, and think about how they would feel if they behaved in a healthier way. Their number one concern is: when they act, will they fail? They learn that the better prepared they are, the more likely they are to keep progressing.

Stage 4: Action

People at this stage have changed their behavior within the last 6 months and need to work hard to keep moving ahead. These participants need to learn how to strengthen their commitments to change and to fight urges to slip back.

People in this stage progress by being taught techniques for keeping up their commitments such as substituting activities related to the unhealthy behavior with positive ones, rewarding themselves for taking steps toward changing, and avoiding people and situations that tempt them to behave in unhealthy ways.

Stage 5: Maintenance

People at this stage changed their behavior more than 6 months ago. It is important for people in this stage to be aware of situations that may tempt them to slip back into doing the unhealthy behavior—particularly stressful situations.

Did you find where you are? If you thought about a chance you already made, do you remember going through some version of these stages? I was easily able to see where I am in the process.

In terms of losing weight/getting healthy, I’ve been precontemplating my ass off for a really long time. It’s funny, because the key component of precontemplation is that you’re NOT READY.

How could I not be ready? I felt ready. I felt SO READY! But, if I step back and look at where I’ve been, I really wasn’t. I have completely underestimated the pros (health, longer life, more energy) and overestimated the cons (restriction, namely to cheese and bacon).

But, this isn’t a process that you follow. It’s not like you get up and say ‘today, I will start contemplating’. It’s just a shift that happens. At some point, my precontemplating became contemplating. I started ‘getting ready’. My pros and cons became more equal. I started thinking in a less rigid manner, accepting that lifestyle change does not mean an ALL OR NOTHING mentality towards food and exercise.

And now? I’m in Preparation. Which means I’m still not ready to start today. And that’s totally okay. I’m taking small steps (last week, I tracked a full day of eating on MFP, even though I didn’t change anything I ate that day. Talk about an eye opener.) I’m setting up my support system. I’m making sure I have everything I need in place, because… I’m ready.


I have 190 pounds to lose. No, that is not a typo. This won’t be easy, nor will it be fast. I’ve had the behaviors that got me here all of my adult life. Finding new ones is a challenge.

But I’m ready. So ready. And one of the notes in the Preparation stage really stuck with me.

People in this stage should be encouraged to seek support from friends they trust, tell people about their plan to change the way they act, and think about how they would feel if they behaved in a healthier way. Their number one concern is: when they act, will they fail? They learn that the better prepared they are, the more likely they are to keep progressing.

That really is my number one concern. Will I fail? Again? I really hope not. But, no one gets to define what constitutes failure except me. So, I’m going to celebrate every success, no matter how small.

And I may need help, which I am never good at saying, and I’m even worse at asking for. But this is about change. So I will let myself ask for help when I need it.

I’m ready.

Have you guys ever heard of this? What do you think?