Category Archives: Life

Dina Does Tough Mudder Tri-State 2012

I  did it, yup, I earned my bright orange Tough Mudder head band.  One of the happiest moments of my life.

Something I realized is that there’s such a great feeling crossing a finish line.  Now I know it may not seem like such an accomplishment.  So many people have completed this obstacle course, so it may not seem like such a difficult feat.  But it’s so much more than that.  Anyone can go through those obstacles (or opt out of them) and finish the 11+ miles.  For me, it sort of symbolized how far I’ve come in life.  It wasn’t just 11 miles for me.  Thinking about even just 6 months ago and then versus now is such a huge difference.  My body, my mentality, my strength, everything…I have grown so much.  Crossing that finish line was like the icing on my cake.

I made sure I at least attempted every obstacle course; it bothered me that people didn’t even TRY.  Sure, there were a bunch I knew I wouldn’t be able to do, but I wouldn’t have felt like I completed the course if I didn’t make an attempt at all of them.  Actually, there was one I didn’t think I would be able to do completely – the  Island Hopping where you have to get from one tree stump to the next.  I did it.  Not many people that I saw made it across without slipping into the water, but I did.  Very proud moment.  Now what if I hadn’t even tried it because I was scared or doubted myself?  I wouldn’t have known that I could do it.

Now I know why people enjoy racing and competing so much.  There’s such a sense of accomplishment, and not just about training hard for whatever it is you are working on — but more about yourself as a whole.

Here are the pictures my sister and some friends took from the event:

Have you done the Tough Mudder?  What do you think of it?

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Made in America Festival in Philly

My girlfriends and I decided to go  to the Made in America music festival in Philly, which was such a great time!    Only my second time there and love it!  The last performance of the night was Jay-Z and while we were waiting for him to get on stage I was standing in the crowd and suddenly felt someone push me forward.  I turned around ready to flip out on someone when I realized it was a bouncer and looked to see who he was escorting.  I realized it was Drake and he was literally right beside me about to walk past.  But there was no way I was letting him get away.  I quickly grabbed his arm and he turned around and looked me straight in the eyes.  Yes, we made eye contact.  He’s probably one of my favorite artists (I actually used to watch him on the Canadian TV show Degrassi when I was in college).  Seriously, one of the best moments of my life; I needed that.

One of my favorite acts of the night was the Calvin Harris set which was on a smaller stage in a tent.  The atmosphere was so intense and it was amazing.  Here are some videos I took during Calvin Harris:

My 5 Year Reveal: How I Lost Nearly 100lbs

Five years ago today I made a very important decision and had weight loss surgery.  Some people knew but I tried to keep my weight loss a secret because I was embarrassed.  When people asked how I lost all my weight, I’d simply smile and say “Oh, I watch what I eat and work out a bit.”  But it was so much more than that.  I knew  that people have a preconceived notion about weight loss surgery and might think, “Oh, she took the easy way out.”  The truth is, this was the hardest decision to make. And sometimes I felt like I HAD to do this.

I know what you’re saying, I could have just dieted and worked out and lost the weight.  Wrong; I tried that.   I’d lose weight and gain it right back plus more.  It’s not like I just gained some weight after college or had a baby and gained a few pounds.  I was a chubby kid, a fat teenager and an obese adult.  I can’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t heavy.  It’s not that I sat around eating Twinkies all day (I actually can’t stand them), but no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t lose weight.  I remember being like 10 years old and dieting – I couldn’t just grab whatever I wanted, I actually had to watch what I ate.  I was also pretty athletic (OK, who am I kidding? I was a tomboy) and I was always playing sports.  I was pretty down on myself because I tried really hard to lose weight (or even just NOT gain it).  I felt like a failure when I couldn’t lose the weight.  Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, but when you’re young it’s not as easy.  As a kid, everyone thought my chubbiness was so adorable and told me it was just “baby fat.”  They said that as I got older, I’d get taller and lose the weight; that never happened.

In high school, I was over 200lbs.  These are the years when everyone was at their skinniest; not me, I was probably at my heaviest.  In college, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and some of the side effects are weight gain and obesity.   It all seemed to make sense now.  This is why I had so much trouble losing weight growing up; it all became more clear.

When I turned 18, I began looking into weight loss surgery.  I met with my surgeon, Dr. Trivedi and LOVED him.  It was set.  I met all the requirements because of my preexisting medical conditions and it was approved by the insurance.  I was all set for surgery and then two days before, I had a really horrible migraine, but my friends took me out to eat at Hooters for my last meal.  On the way home, my migraine got so violent I began sweating and we had to pull onto the highway so I could vomit.  WE called my surgeon and he cancelled my surgery and told me I needed to be cleared by a neurologist before he would operate on me.  I met with the neurologist and got  full neurological exams including CAT scans, MRI — the whole nine yards.  He found that I suffer from migraines and put me on a medication called Topamax.  College started and I began taking the medication so I didn’t get any more violent migraines.  The Topamax had very crazy side effects on me — I barely ate or slept and all I did was work out.  I went days without eating and I didn’t even realize it — not even purposely either.  I dropped about 80lbs in like 2 months and I did not look well at all.  I gained it all back plus more in about a year.

When I was 21, just got my degree and and was still on my parent’s insurance that I knew would approve me for weight loss surgery, I decided to give it another shot.  My “Last Supper” meal?  My best friends brought over A Rueben sandwich from Harold’s Deli — my FAVORITE!  This time, there was no turning back.

One of my biggest reasons for having the surgery was for health reason.  I was pre-diabetic (and there’s a history of Diabetes in my family) and my PCOS was a big issue.  Do you know what it’s like having a doctor tell you that you’ll never be able to have kids?  I felt like less of a woman; useless even.  I used to joke that I didn’t want children when I was younger, but more because I was scared.  After the doctor told me I was infertile, I blamed my stupid jokes for my health.  I swear I’ll never say I don’t want kids ever again.

Although the Lap-Band is reversible, it is still a life altering decision.  I’m going to be totally honest and say that I wasn’t the most active person after my weight loss surgery (which may be the reason it took me 4 years to reach my goal weight set).  I didn’t go to the gym (I was very self conscious about working out in front of people – I still do but I’ve gotten much better recently).  However, I still had to watch what I ate and couldn’t sit around eating ice cream all day (maybe just at night?).  It wasn’t the easiest decision to make having weight loss surgery, but for me, the benefits outweighed the rights.  This is STILL the best decision I ever made and I wish I could have done it sooner.

The night before my surgery my sisters took pictures of me in my underwear so I can always remember how I once looked. They said soon enough I wouldn’t recognize those pictures but we should keep them to compare.  I found those pictures recently and I wish I had enough guts to post them.  I can’t believe I looked like that.   One day I’ll get the balls to show them – promise.

So on August 30, 2007 I weighed 238lbs and today I am 147lbs…not bad huh?

Dina’s Tarot Card Reading by Psychic Dina

So, there’s been this psychic in Jersey City that I pass all the time and always wanted to check out because she has the same name as me (even spelled the same!).  Never went to see her because I never knew what to make of them; not sure if I believe in what they say.

So I got to thinking about everything she said.  For $5, I got to ask her three questions.  Can you guess the first thing I asked about?  Love.  Obviously.  Dina told me that I just got out of a long-term relationship (duh).  That’s obvious right?  My first question is about love and you can’t tell that?  Then she told me my next love will be tall.  As in taller than me – that’s it?  Pretty easy.  Captain fucking obvious.  That’s like saying he’ll have arms.  Do I look like a girl that would date tiny dudes?  Not impressed.

Next, I asked her about work (I know, I was generic and uncreative with my questions but give me a break it was my first time).  She said I’m not doing what I want and I’m having some trouble.  Ummm, ok.  So she asked what I wanted and I told her I want my own business.  She told me it’s going to happen but not for a while.  Fine.  But once again, obviously.  If I’m asking you about my career it means I’m uncertain – if I was ready for my own business I probably wouldn’t so unsure.  Anyway.

Then she randomly pulled out a card and asked me “Are you having lower back  or stomach pains?”  The back pains, no big deal I have arthritis and this past weekend I irritated it moving shit around my apartment.  But mentioning the stomach pains, scary.  Is she talking about the abdominal pain I mentioned in my last post but am too chicken-shit to get checked out?  There was also a death card on the table that I totally avoided asking about.  Fuck.

Dina told me that there is a female that is very jealous of me and wished horrible things to happen.  She said that that’s why when everything seems to be going great something bad happens.  I told her bitches hate me cause they ain’t me.  Just kidding, but I thought that in my head and I LOLed.  Actually, I really don’t think anyone is jealous of me and if they are, they shouldn’t be.  She said there’s a bad aura around me that she can get rid of if I buy a crystal for $50 — oh and it’s so strong I’ll need 2 of them. Fuck my life.

Then, Dina told me that lately I’ve been bottling up feelings inside instead of talking about them; spot on.  But isn’t that a good guess for someone that’s just gotten out of a long-term relationship?  Probably.

Then I asked her more about love as my last question.  She said “you want to find love and be loved.” I replied with “Who the fuck doesn’t lady?” and stormed out.

Yea, so.  Not sure if I was impressed.

What do you think of my reading – were these pretty standard answers?  Have you ever been to a psychic before?  What was your reading like?

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I <3 Jersey City

Born and raised – loud and proud #jerseycity (Taken with Instagram at Jersey City, NJ)

Then to now…

Before my first 5K

A few nights ago I went out to dinner with my former coworkers and I got to thinking about some things.  I started working with them five years ago and realized that so much has changed since then.  It feels like all I did was blink and everything is so different.   There’s so much going on with me.  Is this growing up?  I’m recently finding myself after breaking off a three year live in relationship.  I’m heading back to grad college to study at New York University after five years of being out of school (yikes!).  I ran my first 5K last month.  I’m down nearly 100lbs.  I live on my own.  I still don’t drink.  I just hit my one year anniversary at a really awesome job in the city I live in.  I am a totally different person.  These all seem like normal things for a 26 year old right?  Wrong.  If you’ve known me you wouldn’t believe that this is where I am today.  Let’s backtrack so maybe you’ll understand where I came from:

1 Year Ago:  I landed my dream job in the city I was born and raised in after months of interviewing (score!).  My boyfriend and I celebrated hit two years together and I was realizing that this might not be it.

Me with my little brother Adam – Easter 2007

3 Years Ago:   On April 24, 2009, after a night of binge drinking before and during and after a softball game, I came home obliterated.  My sister put me to bed and I vomited in my sleep.  After that night, my family sat me down and told me if I didn’t clean up my act I wasn’t going to live much longer; think of it like a scene straight from the show INTERVENTION.  My little brother (who was 9 at the time) told me he didn’t like seeing me drunk and asked me to stop; that was the end of my partying. I met the man I would start my very first meaningful relationship with that I thought would lead to marriage.  Here comes the start of a new me.

5 Years Ago:  I graduated from college with honors and started working full time two months after.  I was one of the only ones out of my friends with a full time job and barely managed partying every night and working.  I drank every night, worked all day and had zero ambitions in life.  I was selfish, insecure and ran from my realities by partying. I was nearly a 100lbs heavier than I am today and made a very important decision to change that (stay tuned….)

7 Years Ago: I was taking migraine medicine that caused me to drop 80lbs in two months.  I didn’t eat and I was addicted to working out.  Two days before my 19th birthday, I drank a bottle of Jack Daniels on a very empty stomach and passed out.  Not only was I unconscious, in an attempt to change and put myself to bed I hit my head on the ceramic windowsill and probably had a concussion.  My blood alcohol level was .305 and I was in a coma for about six hours.  However, I still managed to make dean’s list.

10 Years Ago:  It was 2002, I was 16 and a junior in high school.  This was probably one of the worst years and a climactic point in my life.  It was high school – all the typical things happened to me: met my “first love,” went to proms, partied, had fun.  But honestly – this was probably the year I wish I could do over in all the years of my life.  We’ll get into more about this year at another time.

I chose to write about these very intimate and personal details about myself for my first “official” post because you should know where I came from first.  If you don’t know where I came from, how can you understand where I am going? I have a past, don’t judge me for it; look how it’s shaped my future.

So, there you have it.  Maybe you can see why all these things I’m doing right now aren’t minor events in my life.  These are a HUGE deal.  I could have been dead years ago.  This is my second chance year.  My year to do things I never had the chance to do.  No boundaries; no barriers.

You ready for this?