Group running: I’m a fan now.

The past two Saturdays, I ran with other human beings and I actually enjoyed it.

This was a special moment, as y’all know how I most enjoy my running solo because it’s my “me” time. I get lost in my thoughts, rock out to my tunes, and don’t have to worry about slowing anybody down. I do my own thing with me, myself, and I.

Well, as I vowed to do at the beginning of this year, I have decided to be more “sociable” in many aspects of my life. I usually have my walls up where meeting new people is concerned, but that way of being is not going to help me meet any new friends or potential new suitors. So along with being more friendly, making eye contact and smiling at the gym and not scowling at random men who attempt to strike up a conversation with me in my daily activities, I also made good on joining a running group.

Not overjoyed to be up early, but I'm managing.

Not overjoyed to be up early, but I’m managing.

morning running lake

I’m getting to see parts of Durham and Chapel Hill on foot, that’d I’d otherwise miss while driving in my car.

This yellow Nike hoodie was in my closet for two years, tags still on it.

I like to bundle up with cute hats when I run.

I like to bundle up with cute hats when I run.

I’m getting to don outfits that I’ve had in my closet for a while that aren’t necessarily suitable for the treadmill/indoors.

HUGE potluck breakfast after yesterday’s run. Man, I could’ve gone buck wild!!!

But I went with a lot of fruit. Okay, and two donut holes & an Oreo. Haa.

I’m able to bypass not-so-good for me foods and make better choices. After I do all that running, I just want to fuel up with some clean eats!

prerun post run

I feel confident again and am all smiles post-run. Tired and sweaty, but still smiling.

polar heart rate monitor

And boy does it feel good to have such a burn…peace out, calories!

prerun fleet feet

Fellow runners hanging out in Fleet Feet before we went running!

It’s also nice to be around people that have common interests. I’m either at work all day–and no one gives a doggone about my running there–or I’m at the gym lifting weights–and it’s not really a chit-chatty kind of a time.

I’m trying to make some peace in my life again between running AND weights, by the way. I want them to live harmoniously together in my ‘lil fitness world. I just need to plan it all out better. Last year, I took a big break from running so much so that I could focus on weights. I loved, loved, loved the weight-lifting, but running was still in my heart somewhere. With better scheduling, they can both serve a place in my healthy life. And have me looking pretty awesome, haha..

So yes, I am now a fan of running with people. I still enjoy my solo time, but so far, a lot of good has come out of it. I know I said I’d never be a fan of such a thing, but I’m coming around. Again, life has taught me to never say what you’ll never do. 😉

2013: The Best Worst Year of My Life

The last day of 2013. I feel like I should do some grandiose, month-by-month, epic-like, (cue my movie voice) “Here it is: The Year in Review, 2013 Edition.”

But ehh, I don’t feel like it. Annnnnnd 94,362,106,875 other bloggers are, so I’m not going to. Sing along to the tune of, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” but only switch it to, “It’s my blooooog and I’ll write if I want to. Write if I want to. Wriiiiiite if I want to. You would write, too, if you were in the mood.” But again, I’m not.

For the most part, this is how I felt about 2013:
lets never speak of 2013 again someecards

Yup. Similar to my 2009, this is now the second year on record that I’d like to simply have go gently into that good night. I shall stay up until midnight tonight, not only to welcome 2014, but to make sure 2013 gets to steppin’.

I don’t mean to sound angsty. Goodness gracious knows that if I have one wee little non-positive sentence in a 99.9999% positive blog, I get called out on it! But, like I’ve said ad nauseum on here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, I’m a human. Just your regular, average, down-to-earth, call-it-like-I-see it, honest-to-a-fault (and sometimes my own) gal. I’m not a donut-maker; I don’t sugar coat.

Speaking of donuts, I do eat them sometimes; I’m also not a health-bot. [Read: Health-robot, but health-bot is easier to say.] I’m just a woman who promised her mother on her deathbed in 2009 that she’d lose weight, and fell quite short of making good on that promise until her professor called her out on her fatness (not phatness) by referring to her as “Precious” in January of 2010.

And here I am four years later. I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame more times than I ever thought was possible. So much at times, it got to the point where I was almost sick of seeing myself everywhere. I thought surely y’all should be! I didn’t know if people were being sincere or sarcastic when they’d ask me, “So what magazine are you in this month? What website will feature you this week?” But when I could come back with a definitive answer, I didn’t know if I should. So sometimes I’d just chuckle and wave my hand in the air with an, “Aww shucks…oh you!”
On the set! NASM Master Trainer Annie Malaythong, me, Hosts Astrid McGuire & Dave Sinclair

The Cherie Hart Steffen Promo Tour of 2013 was crazy. Yes, I deemed it that. Just when I thought it was over, I was whisked away to film a National Academy of Sports Medicine commercial in Los Angeles earlier this month. What?! And then this past Saturday, another photographer was in my apartment doing a photoshoot for Woman’s World Magazine. (It’ll be out in the March 3, 2014 edition, haha, so this continues…) I’m amazed at all of this. AMAZED. Humbled. Thankful. Appreciative. And Blessed. Afterall, I’m just a girl who lost some weight and wrote a blog about it!

So yes. The publicity for which I didn’t expect, but am BEYOND thankful, was the highlight of my 2013. That’s what made it the Best Year of My Life. My story got out to so many friggin’ people in various mediums and so many of you personally contacted me to let me know that it inspired YOU–that’s what makes me know that sharing this journey is worthwhile. Even when I feel like I’m becoming quite ubiquitous. 😉


Other wonderful noteworthy moments of 2013: I got a raise, a promotion, ran my second half marathon in my hometown, flew on a plane and didn’t crash, discovered my love of weight lifting, became a NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, landed my first personal trainer job, and my life was saved by a few friends who care a whole lot.

So as awesome as my year was professionally, it tanked personally. Seriously, I felt like I had two completely separate worlds. Happy happy work concerning my day job and personal training life and then a complete opposite of that which had anything to do with my love life, finances, weight, and mental stability.

I know everything can’t always be rainbows and sunshine, but doggone it, it was darn near lightening storms and hail. My clinical depression, which had been out of my life since ’03, made a raging appearance somewhere in June. And that was right about the time that I last saw my muscles, firm buttocks, and slimmed down tummy.


My birthday was yesterday, 12/30. As I always do a comparison of birthday pictures, you’ll see me getting smaller every year since December of 2010. Until this December. BOOM. Up 13.8 pounds since last year on my birthday. What?!! Oh yes. (I weigh every day, so all I had to do was scroll back in my little notebook.) See y’all, it can happen to anyone. Even me!

I can clearly trace the weight gain starting in June, right after the depression hit. I lost all “get up and go” because it “got up and went.” And why did the depression return? Why was I eating all of my feelings and stressing out beyond belief? I knew my marriage was ending. I mean, I didn’t know, but I knew. I didn’t want to face it; didn’t want to deal with it, tried to ignore the inevitable. It made me sick to feel this coming on. But instead of losing my appetite, ohhhhh did I gain it. And of course the weight.

I got separated in September, left my four bedroom house and moved into a one bedroom apartment. Oh, and the bills though. Oh dear goodness gracious the bills. I was all on my own and trying to tread water but was drowning fast. Yeah, that made me eat more. And work out? Haa. If you know depression, you know you lose all interested in activities you used to love. For me–that was fitness. Kind of difficult for a personal trainer who’s supposed to be inspiring thousands of people, right?

I was at the end of my rope. But instead of trying to tie a knot and hang on, I thought it’d be best to use to rope, tie a noose and take care of the problem–ME. It surely was me. All of these issues–I WAS the common denominator. It wasn’t getting better. I was a failure in everything that I once used to excel. I was approaching 36, going to be alone, never find love again, live with 10 cats in a cardboard box, and be “Precious” again and was just in general going backwards in life. I wanted out. Okay, no–it wasn’t a noose. But you get my drift. Anyhow, as noted above, friends saved my life so I’m still here to tell the tale.

Except for the second half of 2009, this second half of 2013, was on record as being pretty rough. Some other stuff happened but this is enough to mention for now. I can closely liken it to 2009, so yes, I have deemed it the Worst Year Ever. But as far as “Worst” years go, the “Best” stuff was pretty dang awesome and balanced it out. Do you get me?

But it’s what you make it. I get that. I didn’t ask “Why me?” when the good happened (well, sometimes I did, but you get the point), so it wasn’t really right to ask “Why me?” when the bad happened. Some things that happen to us are way beyond our control. But how we respond? That’s in our hands. It’s in MY hands. THAT is what I need to remember in 2014.


When I made my birthday wish, I wished for — well, you know I can’t tell you. But if it all comes true, next year this time I’m going to be writing about the pure awesomeness of it all. But I won’t be writing it on my birthday night. Nope–I’ll be out celebrating instead of sitting on my couch with my laptop as my companion. But I’ll gladly fill you in the next morning. 😉

Have a wonderful, fun, relaxing, entertaining–or whatever you most want it to be–New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! And thank YOU for being the best part of my 2013! ♥

The Elephant in the Room.

Have I really not blogged in about a month? Y’all know that’s not like me. You really know.

i'm not a player, i just blog a lot

Well, I USED to!

So much in fact, that a good many of you were about to send out a search party. You texted (those with my digits), Tweeted, Facebooked, Instagrammed, Pinterested and emailed me to inquire about my whereabouts. This was all amazingly sweet of you. I never figured you’d notice. But oh yeah, you noticed. And again, I thank you.

I apologize on behalf of my absence; for my sudden disappearance and lack of response to your inquiries. When I did respond, I was cryptic and short; I wasn’t ready to explain. I can’t say for certain that I am now, but you can only keep things bottled up for so long, you know?

Here it goes.

I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression.

This was a big “DUH” when I got the professional’s diagnosis. I could’ve told him that, haha. But you also know too often I like to hop on the internet and play doctor all by myself. When my symptoms like these got too severe:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain (No change, but appetite is awful)
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
  • Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
  • Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

especially that last one there, :-( , I knew it was time to get some help.

elephant in the room

Let me interject for a moment here to break this all up before it starts to get too Debbie Downer. I don’t want this post to be all sad and dreary. I’ve had enough of that for a good two months now. I just needed to get this all off my chest and get the elephant out of the room.

This is not new to me, though it may be new to you. I was also diagnosed with it for the first time in 2000 and then again in 2003. When I felt the symptoms creeping up on me again, I knew it was back with avengeance. I knew I could not ignore it, could not be too proud to ask for help, and could not deal with it on my own. And deal with…I am trying my very best. But as in with my weight loss journey, with this depression, I do have to take it day by day, if not hour by hour.
depression is

With a few people that have known I had it, it turned into the, “But you look so happy. You smile all the time,” “You’ll get over it; you’re just a little upset now.”, “Just be happy; there are people who have it a lot worse than you,” “It’s not a real problem. It’s not a disease. Everyone gets sad sometimes.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… To those people, I just didn’t even respond. If you’ve had it, if someone close to you has, then you know it’s not that simple. (I love Sara Brown’s take on it.)

depression things not to say

I do have a therapist and we meet regularly. That’s good. I do have medicine to take (Sertraline) — I think it’s a form of Zoloft. That’s…ehhhh…not so good. It makes me incredibly drowsy, and especially at first, incredibly sick to my stomach. This greatly makes my appetite diminish. And then I feel super weak. Sooooo, being super sleepy, nauseated, weak, not properly fueled, and lethargic does not make for the best workouts. I’ve taken my gym bag to work with me everyday for the past two weeks and made it there a big whopping ONE time.

See? Yay, gym! While I definitely have a loss of interest in doing a lot of things right now, going to the gym is not one of them. I desperately want to go. It’s one of the things that make me feel normal, happy, and balanced. But until I can get these side effects to calm the eff down, it’s touch and go. I am praying I make it there today. I need it! Go endorphins!

So what brought it back after all these years?  That’s for me and the therapist to know. But I am working it out. Like most journeys in my life, this will take some time. Thanks for listening to me babble, though. And thank you for sticking around while I was away and for making it through this post. I feel like the elephant has left the room. :-)


DC Nike Women’s Half? I tried to Just Do It.

Well, between running the Tar Heel 10 Miler next April and the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May, I won’t have to worry about fitting in the DC Nike Half.

Via their lottery system, I was not selected to run it.

I swear I am the most Nike-addicted person, as you will see by SOME of my collection below {Yes, I have tons more}. But I still did not have luck of the draw. No amount of stuff was going to help me with that.

EVERYday that goes by somebody finds my blog by typing in something Nike-related. EVERY DAY. And it’s a lot of people, too. I’m THAT Nike obsessed that I’ve written about my love for them many, many times.

I’m that obsessed with Nike that I’ve received not one, but two pairs of free shoes AND a GPS+ watch for free simply because of my love for their products.

I could open my own store with the amount of Nike clothing I own.

Walking billboard? That’s me with Nike.

It was me with Nike.

The hubby was like, “This is the same company that gave you all that free stuff right? Because they know how much you like them, write about them, tweet about them, wear their stuff everywhere, right? Shouldn’t you just get some automatic in? {I mean, when I’m loyal to a brand, I’m REALLY LOYAL. What about me Nike? What have you done for me, lately?}

Oh how I wish. But much like the PowerBall, this is one lottery I had to play to win and win I did not.

Someone suggested I sign up with a team to run it. But if you follow me, you know how precious my solo running is. I’m just not a runner with people. I’m a runner alone. It’s my me time. I just wanted my me time, wearing my Nike stuff in my old city of DC.

Yup. I used to live there for three years. Only when I was there, I was “fat Cherie.” It was rough to walk the streets; I could never imagine running them. It was also the city in which I was mugged. And then five months later was physically attacked. DC wasn’t too kind to me.

I wanted to go back stronger, braver, fitter and MAKE THOSE STREETS MINE. Me. Me alone. Me vs. DC.  But I never was any good at winning lotteries.

So I have a heavy heart about this. I don’t fly, so having it in DC was amazing for that reason, too. San Fran would completely be out of the question! But I am so happy for my friends that got in. Friends that I’ve made through this weight loss journey out there in Bloggerville. Friends I hoped I would FINALLY get to meet up with while in the same city. But yet again, I must sit back and read about the fabulous time it was from my computer screen. Just like I did with Fitbloggin’, the Healthy Living Summit, and many other events. Those I never had the money to register for, and now when I finally had the money to register for this, I didn’t get accepted. Frustrating!!!

Sorry for venting. I rarely pout on this blog or complain. I like to keep it pretty upbeat, peppy and positive like I’ve become over this journey. We’re all allowed our days like these…Today’s my day.

But as I said last night–the bright side is that this makes it possible for me to buy myself a pair of Lululemon’s or Under Armour. Or gas. Or groceries. Or delicious fruit…Ohhhh, that’s some happiness right there and a positive note to end on! It’s like free money all of a sudden! 😉

Lululemon dressing room!

Always did love this Under Armour tank!

So tell me–if you didn’t get selected either, what are you doing with the money?

A Letter to My Mother

mother's death

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death. I’m skipping the dedicated fitness/running/weight loss journey post to write a little letter to my Mommy. My heart is heavy today; no other subject will do. If you’ve lost your parent–especially your MOTHER–may you get something out of this, too.


June 8, 2012

Dear Mommy,

Three years today. It’s crazy. I can’t believe I’ve now gone 1,096 days {I’m including Pammy’s Leap Year birthday} without you here. It almost doesn’t seem real. And it most certainly doesn’t seem right.

I look around at all the people still here. Centenarians, murders, rapists, Casey Anthony {you would have been glued to Court TV even MORE than you were with the OJ case by the way}, and I scream to myself wonder, “Why are YOU gone? Why aren’t YOU still here?”

Cancer took you away from me at precisely 7:10 am on that sunny June morning. As you lay in your bed surrounded by me, Dianne, Pammy and Daddy, I watched you struggle to take your last breaths. Honestly, I wondered how long it would be before I did the same. Live without my Mommy?? Have to go on without my greatest supporter, my twin separated by 41 years, my life, my mother? I didn’t think I could. I was quite sure I couldn’t. There were some dark days and nights when you left me.

I just didn’t want to be here any more. Not without you.

Oh, did I think of ending it all? Yes. I’m not proud of it; but I did. I finally understood the immensely powerful emptiness you felt when your mother died. You lived 18 years without her. You changed when she died. There was always a sadness about you since that day. You were as close to her and I was to you–how was I going to live in that sort of state for so long?

I don’t know–call it divine intervention. Call it mother intervention. But I had to snap myself out of it. Or rather, you snapped me out of it. I could hear you, “Ohhh, Cherie. Stop it. Stop crying. Now look–your make up is all a mess. I’m okay. I’m OKAY. I’m not in pain anymore. Cancer isn’t eating me away. I’m with my sister, my father and best of all, I’m with MY mother now. Live your life. I’m not here but I’m still HERE. I had your back then and I’ve got your back now. You can’t see me; but I can see you. I know when you need me and though I’m not there, I’m still THERE. You can talk to me. You can call out for me. I can’t talk back, but I hear you. I’m not going to let anything happen to my baby. Never did and never will.

Did stuff happen to me once you passed away? Stuff I’d consider bad? Oh yes.

Not even two weeks after you died, I herniated my lumbar disc that June. Could. Not. Move. Pain like I snapped it in half.
I couldn’t work anymore because of it so they let me go in August.
I missed you, was in crazy pain, had no job and was more sedentary than I’d ever been.
For every pound you lost with the cancer, I suddenly gained it between then and December.
Talk about depressed.

You let me have my 6 months of Cherie’s Personal Pity Party and then somehow pulled me out of it–again. Appearing in my vision, mind, daydream or whatever, I saw myself leaning over your deathbed that day in June as you said to me: “Save Money. Lose Weight.” I had to do it. I had to make some positive changes.

Yes, I’m still working on the Save Money thing. {You know me…} But the Lose Weight? I got that. Oh Mommy, you would be SO proud. When I went back to school in January 2010, some evil teacher called me Precious {the fat black girl–you missed the movie}. I mentally snapped into action. That comment sparked your dying words and it just did something to me. I started on a massive journey to drop 100 pounds. I’ve lost a little over 80 so far, Mommy!! Oh what fun I’d have charging new clothes at JC Penney with our card and calling home to tell you what “you” bought me!! I definitely miss that!

This weight loss led to my back getting a lot better. It also led to a new job. So in a roundabout way, I had to go through some really dark periods to see the light. I think know I’m better for it. Could these things have happened if you were still here? I suppose so. But I also suppose there wouldn’t have been such an urgency to change my life. To make the loss of you worth something–to make some sort of good come out of it. Maybe that’s what keeps me going…I work so hard to keep up my end of the Save Money. Lose Weight promise so it’s not for nothing. So that last bit of breath you used to say those four words to me wasn’t wasted.

I think of you everyday. Several times a day. And I talk to you, too. Sometimes I just look in the mirror and talk because I grow more like you in looks and mannerisms everyday. It’s like you’re looking back at me or I’m looking back at you. And when I roll my eyes, as I always do, that’s you, too.

You’re all around me, watching me and protecting me. Death couldn’t stop that. If anything, strangely enough, your death gave me more life. Three years later, not an easier life at all, but a different life I needed. A life I strive to make right, cherish, not take for granted, and live.

Thank you, Mommy. For everything then and now. I love and miss you, so, so much.

I think I can finally say, “I’m okay,” too.


There is life after being Tebowed.

I’m still as emotional as can be over my team’s loss on Sunday. Yes, two days ago and I could STILL bust out into tears over my STEELERS this very moment. The way people feel about food, sex, air–that’s how I am about my team.  One of my favorite lyrics in a song from Hootie & The Blowfish’s, Only Wanna Be With You, is “I’m such a baby, yeah, the Dolphin’s make me cry…” He’s not talking about the sea creatures, people. He’s talking about the NFL team. So I always insert STEELERS. They make me cry happy tears when they win and sad tears when they lose. Ugh. We got Tebowed. But I can’t be mad at him. I actually like Tebow and hope he and the Broncos kick some New England butt next week!

Next year, my sexy, sexy, Ben. Next year!!!!


I was ridiculed at work on Monday due to this loss. The guys had a blast verbally ripping me and my team to shreds. I started to feel like this was the end of the end. Melancholy. Crestfallen. Dejected. Will life go on? Will I make it to Pre-Season in August??? I was in pretty much the worst mood ever until I got home and saw a special surprise waiting for me.

Yay! There IS life after being Tebowed. I got Newton Terra Momentus Trail Running Shoes!!! You know that I’m am crazy-loyal to my treadmill and rarely run outside. But when I do venture outdoors, I like to run on a trail around a lake. Now, I’m not the type to buy shoes to wear on a run that will only happen every three months, so I first wanted to make sure that I could wear these off trail–and I can. They have these little “lugs” at the bottom which are specifically there to help me strike mid-foot. I hope it works! I’ll blog again about them after I’ve worn them for a bit. But I love the color and the feel/comfort is amazing. I did a lot of research for the past two months on them and everyone was correct about ordering a 1/2  size up.

I ordered the shoes from Running Skirts. In a few days I’ll explain what made me order from there exactly, but you’ll have to wait. :-) So while on their site I saw that the shoes were 25% off!! Holla!! Newton’s aren’t the cheapest shoes, so this was a great deal. They also tossed in a free pair of purple compression socks which were an amazing bonus! I already was planning on ordering the aqua ones, so now I have two sets!

Man, do these socks compress!! I only had them on for a little bit last night just to test them out while I was sitting at my computer desk and they were working away! I think they’ll feel pretty darn awesome while running…again, I’ll get back to you on that!

I also realized that I need to do a lot more cross-training. I’m kicking butt with the running/cardio, but not so much on the yoga/strength training/etc… so, enter my Trainermat!

I found this steal at Marshall’s for totally cheap! It comes with a DVD and 24 core/ab exercises are printed right on the mat! We sell one like this at Dick’s that’s for yoga, but I had never seen this one before. I can’t wait to test out some of the moves after my run today! Speaking of run, I logged 11.8 miles last week! That’s a lot for me, haha. I’ll try to best it this week!

One last fun thing that was waiting for me in the mailbox yesterday was my PB2.

Have any of you tried this before? I was lured in by the 85% less calories, I must admit. It’s peanut butter in powder form–you take 2 tablespoons of this powder, plus 1 tablespoon of water, mix together and Taa-Daaa–you have peanut butter! Kind of. I tried it on piece of wheat toast and it was decent enough. I think I’ll like it better in protein shakes–it’d probably be awesome in there. Otherwise, I’ll just stick to my regular natural PB for other things.

All this happy, fun chat about fitness/healthy stuff and I’m feeling better already! {A little bit…} 😉 Whilst I’m still heartbroken over my STEELERS, I will fill my void with exercise–one of my other favorite past times.

So–have you ever run in Newton’s? Tried this PB2 yet?

OBESE Children…Are the parents responsible? If not, who is?

Hey y’all. :-) Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. I had a great reason–I do my fitness work in retail and this was Black Friday week. So you know what I was doing! I’ll have more to say about all of that later. Right now, something a little more juicy appeared that fired me up and I cannot resist discussing it:

Obese children.

It all started because this morning I saw, read and then posted this article on my Facebook page: Obese Third Grader Taken From Mom, Placed in Foster Care.

This meal is not Happy.

No–this kid in the picture is not the kid from the above story. This is just one of those random pictures you’ll find on the Internet of an obese child. I’ve seen this one a zillion times and it instantly came to mind when I read this story. People like to crack jokes about it, but it’s not funny to me in any way. It’s sad, really sad.  Now, back to what I was saying.

I read the article, was appalled by it and then posted it on my Facebook page. I stepped away to make some coffee and came back to find a firestorm of 30 comments. So I just voyeuristically sat back sipping my java while watching the two sides go at it. It was like being at my own live taping of Sally Jessy Raphael, er Phil Donahue, uh the good old Oprah shows, umm, well, some talk show that’s not about paternity tests or love triangles.

I wasn’t appalled that the child was removed from the home. I didn’t even have time gather feelings about that whole other can of worms just yet. Thinking about it now, I don’t think the children should be taken away per se, but I do think something should be added–home visits, counseling, education…etc.

Anyhow, I was appalled that a THIRD grader weighs 200 pounds. And that was exactly what I said in my link.

I read the article first before I made any major snap judgements other than that. I thought, well, maybe the kid had a medical problem and that’s why he’s so heavy. NOPE. Saw nothing like that and then on went the green light for my feelings/thoughts/opinions to be unleashed. The KID is NOT buying the groceries, cooking dinner, making meal planning decisions for the household–THE PARENTS ARE.

When the child hit 125, 150, 175 pounds, where were the parents? Were they trying to do anything before that scale tipped 200 pounds? Now please–SPARE ME the “You don’t have children Cherie. You don’t know what it’s like to have an obese child Cherie. You don’t know how hard it is to lose weight Cherie.” HAHAHAHAHAHA. Really? Okay. I don’t have kids. But I was one. I don’t have an obese kid. But I was a fat, rolly-polly one on my way to adult obesity, which I eventually accomplished. And yes, I do, oh yessiree Bob know how hard it is to lose weight. I just spent almost two years losing 70+. So when I say, as I did in my FB post above, there is no excuse for this, I stand by that. There just isn’t.

Ignorance is not an excuse. And I don’t mean ignorance in the incorrect form in which everyone uses the word–I mean actual lacking knowledge ignorance. If you are lacking knowledge in an area–such as this one about proper nutrition and proper fitness–ask for help. Don’t be so proud to not ask for help from a real professional. Don’t say, “I’m doing everything I can. I’m not buying any junk food. I don’t know why little Jack or Suzy is gaining weight.” It’s your job to find out!!!!!! It’s up to YOU to get professional health & wellness help if you truly believe you’ve done all you can do and you don’t know where else to look. And just because I am one, I’m not even saying hire a personal trainer. At this point, if your kid is 200 pounds and in 3rd grade and you’ve already eliminated a medical problem, you then need a Registered Dietitian or a nutritionist. Because guess what? Most personal trainers won’t say it, but I will. Losing weight is 80% nutrition, 20% fitness. Yup. Sure is. You can make or break that body in that kitchen.

Look, I’m not trying to be preachy. I’m just being real about this. Parents of obese kids out there have to understand that it DOES begin with you. {Much like pretty much everything does!} If YOU are constantly eating hamburgers, ham, fries, sausage, pizzas, McRibs, hot dogs, kielbasa, fried chicken, bacon {your status updates/tweets kinda give you away}, your kid’s eating it. If YOU are obese too, your kid sees that. You telling your kid to not eat bad food, or sneak treats from friends at school, or that they need to lose weight to be healthier doesn’t matter if you’re setting the bad example. We all know kids are impressionable. “Do what I say, not what I do” doesn’t work. Lead by example!

Oh–and one of my favorite comments–“I can’t control what my kid does. You cannot make someone do what they don’t want to do.” Ummm, WHAT?????? Now, again, maybe this was just how I was raised, but if my Mother was still alive and she marched her 75-year-old self into my house and told me to do something I’d STILL do it. I’ll be 34 next month!! Hell, when I’d go home to visit, I still had a curfew and you can bet my black ass I’d better adhere to it!!!  Parents, get some balls. YOU’RE THE PARENTS!!! YOU RUN THIS. If you choose to throw your hands in the air and say you’ve done everything you could do, you’ve basically given up on your child. You are slowly letting your child dig his own grave with a knife and fork.

Stop kidding yourself. Stop saying you’ve done everything. Stop being too proud to ask for help. Weight loss is a mathematical equation. If your child is taking in more energy {calories} than he is expending, he will gain weight. Unless he does the opposite of that, he will not lose weight. One pound equals 3,500 calories. To lose one pound, he will have to expend 3,500 calories. That much I’ll tell you for free! Please, please for your child, see an RD and give him the gift of a healthy life. Even if you think you know all about nutrition, see one anyways–they know more and will blow your mind! This doesn’t have to be the epidemic that it’s become.

Lastly, I loved my Mommy to death, but she didn’t handle my childhood fatness well. I was told I was fat and needed to lose weight, but wasn’t shown how to go about doing it. She didn’t know anything about nutrition. She only knew that she was a model and was super thin and that I should be, too. She’d tell me not to eat so much or eat bad food, but yet, would buy cookies and chips. I was like, “WTF, Mom?” And then she’d stop buying those foods, but when we’d go out to dinner, she wouldn’t stop me from ordering a big hamburger steak slathered in gravy. Um, okayyyy. Total confusion. Had she explained why those foods weren’t the best choices for me or a healthier alternative to them, that would have been awesome. But since she didn’t know and didn’t enlist help, the battle continued for 20+ years.

I love parents who have a healthy way of explaining this to their kids. Take my fabulous fantastic friend Melissa. The way she explained the whole healthy eating thing to me concerning her kids was like this: “My girls know when to eat things and when not to. And why. They don’t know it by “this makes my butt too big” or “this will go to my thighs”. I love that. They have a positive understanding of food. Negative talk towards it just makes you want to eat more–at least that’s how it was in my case. Just telling them they need to lose weight, or they need to eat healthy food, or they need to work out doesn’t work. Just giving up doesn’t work.

It took a few tries, but I didn’t give up on myself and when/if I have kids, I’m not giving up on them either.

So now, I’ve said my what I had to say. Have at it. What are your thoughts on this childhood obesity issue? On whose shoulders does the responsibility to fix this rest?

I need to get this off my chest…

yoga pose
If ever there was a day that I needed some hot yoga in my life, this would be it. I won’t be going again until next Monday though, so I’ll have to turn up the heat, watch a DVD on Instant Netflix and practice at home in a bit. But first I need to clear my mind and calm myself through writing.

For the most part, I consider myself an optimist. I wasn’t always this way, but I’ve worked really hard in the past few months, despite the craptastic events {the anti-promotion, mother’s death, severe back injury, job loss} of the past two years of my life, to look on the bright side, change my attitude and focus on the good in my life–to just be happy.

"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes."

But now that I’m just getting home from the job fair, I’m sobbing left and right. Trying to suck  it up, smile, be happy, look on the bright side, be an optimist but nothing’s working. We all have our days, right? Sometimes a good cry is just that–good for us. So please allow me this time to pout, question everything and not have to be happy-Cherie for just this one blog post. I know no one wants to read a Debbie Downer post so please excuse me. But someone once told me that while this blog is here to entertain, help, and inspire others, it also has to help me. That so what if no one else reads it; deep down it’s for me–for my soul. I have to be honest here with my feelings because if I can’t, well, then, I’m just lying to you AND myself and I’m not going to do that.  So, I need this time to cry it out. Get it out. Yell. Shout. SCREAM.

As you know, if you’re one of my lovely regular readers, I’ve been out of work for 2 years. {2 years, 2 months and 5 days to be exact–YES, I’ve been keeping count.} If you’re not regular, welcome to my blog and sorry the first post you’re reading is this one! :-)  Here’s the short version: During that two years, I went back to school to get more education to help myself finally get out of retail. {I have a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Hey kids out there: Don’t major in English, FYI, lol. At least not just straight English anyway. Take the teaching or pre-law track.} I just received that second degree last month {So I now also have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. But again kids, make sure they’re actually hiring in the field of CJ in your area before you go and spend 1.5 years doing that, lol.} After applying for an endless amount of CJ jobs, I realized hey, this is insanity. {You know the definition of insanity, right?} So now, after a dramatic weight loss, revamping my life and finally getting healthy, I’m studying to be a Certified Personal Trainer.

That’s going well, praise the Lord. But since I’m not ready to test for my certification and be the next Jillian {or first Cherie} just yet, I have to get a job. Haha, well, DUH, as you can see I’ve HAD to get a job this whole time. But I’m really in a crunch now. For these two years, before savings completely ran out, it was rough. ROUGH, but we made do. Rough doesn’t begin to describe the situation now. I’m at the point where I need something, anything to help us survive. {BLESS my husband for taking care of me/us for the past two years. When he said “For better or worse,” ughhh, if only he knew….I’m glad he didn’t!}

I swore I would NEVER go back to retail. Well, never say what you’ll never do. Today I went to a job fair for a big chain, wholesale club that is opening nearby {20 miles away IS nearby way out here}. The job fair was scheduled to begin at 8am. I woke up at 4:30am and arrived at the fair {which was in a motel conference room} at 5:45am. There was a car with two older ladies already in the parking lot and another older man arrived right after I did. But since I was the first to hop out of the car and get to the door, I was first in line. :-) The ladies and the man then followed my lead. It was dark out, but I managed to sneak a cell phone pic {you know I love doing that}:

Sidenote: C’mon man!! Why do you HAVE to light up and puff?!! I know we had 2 hours to kill at this point, but I was smelling super fresh and fantastic and it was all ruined. The smoke kept wafting over. :-( Ugh. I don’t know how I EVER smoked. I’m so grossed out.  Anyhow, the ladies, the man and I struck up a convo and kept ourselves entertained. They were really nice though. They were talking about how hard it is to get a job because they didn’t have degrees. The one lady asked me, “Yeah, isn’t it rough without a degree?” What?! I have a degree. I have TWO degrees. How did I even get here?

Oh I know how I got here. Way back when, I took a wrong fork in the road. I chose the wrong major. I didn’t do an internship in college. I left Harris Teeter for Whole Foods. Etc. Etc. Etc. I know I shouldn’t ask, “Why me?” Especially because I’m not likely to ask it when things are going my way. But really, whyyyyy? Howwwww? I had such potential. I’m smart. I’m reeeeally smart. I’m promotable. I do my job WELL–when I have one. My friends are doctors, lawyers, financial experts, IT specialists and they’re all making good money. Some of these are the same people that were complete schmucks in high school and college. The same people that goofed off while I studied. The same people that went out partying while I studied. The same people that seemed as though by now, they’d be living in a van down by the river. Yet, I AM the one that’s a few steps away from needing to look for a nice riverbed to make our home. How is it that I am now competing for a job that’s $8 an hour? I’m thirty-effin-three years old. I should BE something by now. I should be SOMEBODY by now.

Yes, I’m somebody. I’m Cherie. But that’s not good enough. I can’t pay my bills by saying, “Hey. I’m Cherie. That should be enough.” Your job doesn’t define you, but it is part of who you are. Everytime you meet someone, they inevitably ask, “So what do you do?” I LOATHE that question now. I wait for it and hate when it comes. It’s absolutely DEMORALIZING to not have worked for two years. And then to not get a job despite applying and applying and applying. And now, here I am again today, sitting there with a guy about 10 years my junior trying to explain in a 5 minute interview why he should hire me to work under him. Why I should be the one to get that $8 an hour job. I used to be the manager. I used to be the one on the other side of the table. That seems light years away now. How did it get to the point where a 23-year-old was about to determine, in the span of 300 seconds, if I should be the one worthy of that $8?

It was also just so humbling to be in that conference room with all those people. They ALL need these jobs. Some of them really, really looked like they needed that job. Any job. It was heartbreaking to see that. The stories I heard from some of those people–ughhhh. :-( The unemployment rate is sky high in NC and I saw those real numbers today. I wish I knew their stories. How they got here…were their stories like mine? Worse? Are they wondering where their next meal was coming from? How the rent was going to be paid this month? I started crying for them when I got home. And myself. Then them again. People have such an incorrect view of the unemployed. We’re not lazy. We’re not stupid. We’re not looking for a handout. We. Just. Want. To. Work. Maybe we made a bad decision once upon a time. Took a wrong turn. But when does it end? When do we get to prove ourselves again? When do I???

Wow, this was loooooong. Sorry, but I had to get it out. I feel slightly better now and think I need to go do that yoga. Or take out my frustrations on my treadmill. Hopefully, I’ll hear something in 2-3 weeks. Ive said it before and I’ll say it again so you don’t have to–everything happens for a reason. But I’m really getting exhausted from saying that. There must be some great big life lesson in all this somewhere. Whatever it is. It can’t all be for nothing. In the meantime, I’ll do some more searching today. Of the job variety and the soul. Thanks for listening. 😉

Hey, it worked for Dorothy…


I've got a feeling I'm not in Pittsburgh anymore...

Oh my happy little blog. How I missed you! I do apologize for my absence. I wasn’t trying to ignore this blog. I had every desire to detail my trip from start to finish, as it was all unfolding, but I simply was in a far away land without Internet access…this land of which i speak is Beaver County, Pennsylvania, a quick 27 minutes from Pittsburgh. okay, yes, the BC does have the Internet, but it’s not widely available. the only starbucks in the friggin’ town doesn’t even have it!! my dad doesn’t have it at his house either, so i had to rely on the help of my neighbors to allow me to “borrow” it from them. but to “borrow” it, i had to either sit on the front upstairs porch when the east wind would blow in just the right angle to send me a signal, or crouch in the doorway of that same porch with my laptop half hanging out onto the stoop. this was not comfortable and not an ideal way to get creative and in the mood to write, especially when BC weather would strike–and strike it did as it always does. i spent three weeks in my lovely hometown, and yeah, that’s why i hadn’t chronicled my exciting times in darn near a month. but i’m baaaaaaaaaack.

well, i’m physically back. mentally, i’m mostly still there. as some wise transplanted pittsburgher once said, “you can take the girl out of pittsburgh, but you can’t take the pittsburgh out of the girl.” what little bits of the accent i picked up while there are sadly slipping away, but the past few days, i’ve made myself say, “dahntahn, stillers, n’at, or jeet jet” or toss in words like, “pop, gumband, slippy, crick, or jag off” to represent here in NC.

most of the people back home are trying to get out and i’d gladly flee NC in a heartbeat to move back. i think the happiest day of my life would be if mark came home and announced, “you know, i’m not really feeling north carolina anymore. why don’t we just move to the Pittsburgh area? Beaver County perhaps? we can invest in some decent winter coats, snow tires, shovels, umbrellas. i don’t need to see the sun more than 10 days a year anyway! pack your bags, honey, we’re moving to the BC!!”  but oh, that’s gonna happen the day peta hires michael vick as their new spokesperson. 

i think what i miss about the BC/Pittsburgh is the familiarity of it all. the bad-for-me-food, the bars, my family, the round-the-clock access to Pittsburgh Steelers updates/interviews/coverage, and my friends. MY FRIENDS!!!!! i forgot what it was like to have friends. i’ve never, ever had a shortage of friends like i do now. now, all i have is acquaintances. yes, some are very good acquaintances, but that’s it. there’s no one that i can call to go to the mall or grab a cup of coffee and no one that would do the same for me. there’s no one that i’d call with an emergency at 4am–that’s what a friend is. my friends in pa ROCK. THEY FRIGGIN’ ROCK!!! they’re there for me and actually care. not that fake caring-somewhat-give-a-crap-if-it’s-convenient caring either. yes, props to you PA peeps; you’re the real deal and i miss you!

okay, enough lamenting for my fun, zany and interesting times in PA…in my three weeks there i’ve compiled a great deal of subjects to discuss. and discuss them i shall, just not right now. now, it’s time for unpacking!!