Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My story

Have you 'met' Ashlee Birk?  If you don't know who I'm talking about, you are missing out!  Ashlee has an amazing and inspiring story of how she overcame tragedy and chose to stand.  From the moment I read her story, I've been inspired.  She has started a campaign to empower others to stand.  Others who have fallen or who have been broken into pieces by their circumstances...or sometimes their own choices.

I feel so honored that she featured a post I wrote on for her blog.

Those who have been following me know how passionate I am about empowering others to get back up after falling down.  And we all fall down!  It's always about standing up one more time than we fall.  That's the recipe for success in any aspect of life.

Life is hard.  Really hard.  Unfairly hard sometimes.  But life is also worth living.  Life is worth standing up and dusting ourselves off.  That is the reason I started this blog so long ago.  Because I knew that I would always be in progress for good.  I always tell my husband that if sharing my story helps even just one person to have the strength to continue their difficult journey, then it was worth sharing.

Has it been easy to open up and share sometimes (especially with peers and neighbors and friends)?  No.  It's easy to hide behind a screen sometimes and type what's in my heart.  But knowing the people I love and respect might read this...yikes.  :)

No one's story is the same.  No two people have to trudge through the same merky waters.  But together we can strengthen each other.  Together we can stand and maybe, just maybe, lift someone else up when they don't feel strong enough to stand on their own.

Isn't that what life is about?

No matter where you are, no matter your story, no matter the hard you might be facing right in this moment...know that you are not alone.  Ever.  Keep fighting.  Keep swimming.  I won't promise things will get easier.  Instead, I think we get stronger and that is what helps make the heavy loads lighter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April update

Things have been a bit crazy around here.  Right now I've been trying to juggle about 283572983 balls.

I have still been plugging along.  I just haven't had a second to update on here.  I started school again in March and it, along with work and being a mom/wife has kept me busy!  We've got kids in sports which also means games/practices ALL.THE.TIME.

With all that on my plate, something has to give.  And the fall out has been the blog.  Usually when I stop posting on here it means I've been neglecting my health.  This time, that is NOT the case.

Just yesterday I hit my 72 day streak for my daily working out.  I weighed in April 1st (as did Jason) and have our results for the first quarter.

Alisha's total weight loss for the first quarter of the year:  26.3 lbs
Jason's total weight loss for the first quarter of the year:  38.3 lbs

Not too shabby, right?!

Since April 1st, both Jason and I have been plugging along.  But the scale has been slow to move.  Or, even worse, it's moved back in the wrong direction.

We decided this last week to start something new. Clean Eating.

Now, let me start by saying I felt like I was a pretty good eater 80-85% of the time.  But that 15-20% would always set me back and I'd get so frustrated!  I constantly found myself saying 'why is it so freaking hard to lose weight and with one meal I can jump back up 8 pounds.'

So Saturday we went shopping and bought everything we needed to begin following a meal plan from Clean Simple Eats.  40 days of clean eating is what we committed to.

A) It was expensive.  Why is "healthy" food so freaking much!?
B) I was worried about the recipes.
C) While grocery shopping, I felt like I had a huge sign across my face saying "I'm clean eating STUPID" while in the health food isles.

But we managed to get all the food and start.

Now, Saturday night we did cave and order pizza one last time.

Sunday morning, we weighed in and took pictures as we started this 40 day journey.  I feel like my weight was higher than is fair to report because of the pizza/bloating/water retention.  But I can only go off what the scale says.

3 days in and I'm LOVING the results.  I'm LOVING LOVING LOVING the food!

We've had one recipe that I can say I had to choke down.  Every other meal has been delicious!

And, 3 days in and I'm already down 8 pounds from when we started.  Jason is down over 10.  Now some of this could be because our bodies are being "shocked" into clean eating, especially after pizza Saturday night.

BUT.  Like I said above, I didn't feel like my eating was all that bad before.  I'd always do a green smoothie in the morning.  A protein bar for lunch.  Then dinner was usually something with high protein and lower carbs.  Snacks would be healthy...fruit or nuts.  I was giving myself one cheat day a week as long as I ate great all the rest of the week.  But that one cheat day would jump me back up a few lbs.

We are committed to sticking with this for 40 days.  I'd love to see where I'm at with my body after continuing to lift weights and do cardio and now adding in ZERO processed foods.

What I'm most excited about?  In the next day or two I should FINALLY be out of the stupid 180's.  I've been dancing around in the 80's for far too long.  And frankly I just really hate the number 8.  I'm ready to fall in love with 170's again....

Sunday, March 27, 2016

First race

Post edit: the race was actually yesterday. I was just waiting for official results but they weren't posted until today...

Today I ran my first race of the season. I've been working up my runs each week. But, more than that, I've been lifting weights and THAT made a huge difference! I felt so good running on the brisk, chilly spring morning. I loved doing it with my mom. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't thrilled to get up early to run in the cold. But once I was there, I got in my groove. 

I'm pretty happy with my run. I have a huge goal for this year. I want to finish a 5k in under 27min. Why that number? I have no idea. But that's what I'm going to push for! Today, on my first run I was just hoping to finish under 35min. 

Final results:
I finished 45th with a 33:43 time. I felt dang good too!

Loved spending the morning with my mom. Here's hoping we can find more races to occupy our Saturday mornings for the summer...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


If I'm being honest, I'll post that today has been rough. 

I've wanted to eat everything in sight. I tried for the first 3/4 of the day to be smart and load up on protein because I felt hungry. 

Then this evening happened. And I've been stuffing everything in my pie hole.

Also. Truth: I don't want to go to the gym tonight. 

At all.

Truth is, sometimes it's hard to keep motivated. 

But another truth: I always feel better after a good hard workout. 

So I'm off to sweat it out...even if I am bitter about it. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016


I have been deep in reflection for a lot of the month.

Sometimes, I struggle finding the words to express what I feel.

This is certainly one of those times.


As you might be aware, Jason and I snuck off to Moab on the 3rd to celebrate life.  15 years have now passed since my life was turned upside down when I was raped.  15 years has held a lot of heartache and tears, but I've also found a lot of strength and happiness.

I've been asked how I did it.  How I moved on from something as life shattering as rape.

Truth is, I haven't 'moved on.'

I've moved through it.  I've waded through every emotion and been strengthened when I felt I had no strength left.

I've been buoyed up friends and family, even when they've had no clue they were buoying me up.

But as I've said before, each year the end of February the anxiety sets in.  Each year, the beginning of March I begin to panic.  How will it effect me this year?  Will I become angry?  Will I become emotional?  Will I want to check out and sleep through the next few days?

This year, I made a conscious effort to determine my coping.  This year, I decided to go somewhere I've never been.


It was beautiful.  It has been on my bucket list for quite some time, and for good reason!  Delicate Arch, Dead Horse Point!

I wish I could sit here and write that it was perfect, and I felt no anxiety. I can't. That's the tricky thing, sometimes as hard as you try, you can't control every emotion you feel. So instead, I faced the emotion. I acknowledged it, and every other emotion I was feeling.

As I stood at the look out, looking over Dead Horse Point I had plenty of time to reflect!  We were the only ones there.  It was quiet.  And beautiful.  For a moment I got to just breathe in the beauty.  I had enormous gratitude in my heart.  I remembered being at my lowest point (many times) and thinking that life would be better without me.  I remember wanting to numb, to not feel the extreme pain.  I remember, so clearly, thinking of a time in my life that I thought life could NEVER be good again.  I didn't deserve happiness.  I thought didn't deserve to smile or to laugh again.  I remembered as I stood there, the tears shed, and the prayers uttered to just let me be done with this life.

As I stood there, quietly, over looking this point I realized how beautiful life is BECAUSE I fought so hard to continue.  I realized that because of the hard, I've become stronger.  The girl 15 years ago had no idea how strong she really was.  The girl 15 years ago didn't realize all that life had in store for her.  The girl 15 years ago didn't realize how finding courage to stand back up and face life could fulfill her in ways she never imagined.

Depression is real.  Suicide is real.  Wanting to die is real.  And I've fought through those thoughts many times.  And who knows, maybe those ugly thoughts will rear their head again in my life.  (I hope not, but I'm wise enough to never say never!)

So to anyone in a dark spot in life, please hear my words:

Whatever it is you've faced, or whatever it is you are currently facing....the sun will shine again!  It will shine again on your face and heart.  Breathing will get easier.  And you will be surprised to find a day when you actually are grateful for every breath you take. You will be grateful for opportunities to see incredible sites you've never seen, because you've made the choice to continue. 

Is my life perfect and all roses now?  Heavens no!  We face hard in our family quite often.

But, we fight through the hard together.  Because that's just it...you are never alone!  Even when you are at your loneliest moments, and you think you have no one...God is there.  He has your hand.  Never did He leave my side, and never will He leave yours.  His love is there for you whether you want it, whether you are ready for it, or whether you feel you need it. His love is there no matter what skeletons are in your closet, no matter what you've done or what others have done to you.  And that love never changes or dulls.  It's not conditional.

As the sun warmed my face that day at Dead Horse Point, I felt His love.  I felt such gratitude.  I felt such pride. 

It takes courage to stand up when you've fallen, or you've been knocked down.  So when you are down, find the strength to stand.  Maybe even slowly stand.  But stand!  Fight!  Because as I stood at Dead Horse Point reflecting on my life, my children, my job, my friends, my family, etc. I realized that I didn't have a clue 15 years ago how bright the sun could shine in my life again.  I love the sun in my life.  I love feeling the warmth of it surround me.  And I constantly remind myself of that each day.  Because I don't take the sun for granted.  I know darkness can easily creep back in if I let it.  So each day, I try to make a conscious choice to feel the sun.  It doesn't always work, but I keep trying.  After all, I will always be in progress for good.....

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Jason and I weighed in yesterday.  I'll be honest, I hoped for a bigger loss.
(And I know Jason did too.)

But the reality is, we can't have a month like January every single month.
And the truth is, we will keep plugging along.
Some months will give us a bigger loss than others, but eventually we will get where we want to be.
And it's not like there is a deadline.
These changes are changes we are making in our lives (hopefully forever!).

So....the results:

February STARTING numbers:
Weight: 192.1
Fat Mass: 80.2
Lean Mass: 111.9

Weight:  269.8
Fat Mass:  91.2
Lean Mass:  178.6

ENDING numbers for the month:
Weight:  187.2
Fat Mass:  72.8
Lean Mass:  114.4

Weight:  264.2
Fat Mass:  82.6
Lean Mass:  181.6

What does this all mean?
Alisha lost 7.4 pounds of fat, and gained 2.5 pounds of muscle.
Alisha's overall weight loss for February:  4.9 pounds

Jason lost 8.6 pounds of fat, and gained 3 pounds of muscle.
Jason's overall weight loss for February:  5.6 pounds

(scale used to track this is a Withings scale, HIGHLY recommend it!!!)

I can tell you that at the end of the month there were points that both Jason and I weighed less than we did March 1st.  But that's how the scale works.  It fluctuates each day.  And I want to give an honest reflection of what this journey is like for us.  I would have loved to use a number from a few days earlier to bump up my results.  But there is power in honesty.  And the numbers will come.  So here's to a Sweet March, full of Madness!

Will you join us?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Yesterday, February ended.  I worked extremely hard to earn what some will think is a silly achievement:

With the Apple Watch you can earn different achievements.  This one was for reaching my Move goal every single day of February.  

I haven't weighed in yet to know my final weight.  I know it's not as low as I hoped.  I'll likely weigh in after I go to the gym this morning.  But I wanted to write this post first.  Because more than the weight, I'm just damn proud of the consistency.  

You see, some months the scale will reward me and others it will be stubborn.  This month my eating wasn't perfect.  I lived it up on Jason's birthday weekend (which was also the Super Bowl weekend).  I also lived it up at Valentines day.  But that's just it....this isn't a "diet."  This is our lifestyle now.  And I plan to live my life.  I love food.  And I plan to continue to enjoy food.  I am just trying to make my relationship with food more healthy.  I don't regret the weekends I splurged in February.  I don't regret it, because I lived.  I planned those moments.  I didn't binge.  I didn't eat my feelings away.  I chose.

So what does March look like?  Geez.  I don't know.  I know I said this March was going to be 'different' than other years.  But I'll be honest, it's the first and I can already feel the anxiety creeping in.  I leave for Moab on Thursday so I'll be spending the hardest days of March with Jason, in a place we've never been.  I'm hoping to celebrate the choice I made to live life.  

I've read a lot about the semi-colon project.  I'll be honest, I'm not a tattoo kinda girl.  But this is one I've sincerely debated getting.  If you haven't read up on the semi-colon project, it basically is a visual symbol people get to signify the choice they made.  You see, an author makes a choice to use a semi-colon.  They make a choice to continue rather than using a period.  And that's just it.  I made a choice.  I continued, despite desperately wanting to use the period and be finished with my life.  

So this weekend, I will be celebrating that.  I will be celebrating being a survivor.  I hope you can celebrate with me.  Sometime on the 3rd, I hope you can take a moment to pause and be proud of yourself for fighting through the hard and difficult in your life.  Join me, and take a moment to look around and appreciate what you see.  

Life is worth living; even when it's most difficult. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


So earlier this year, I did some math.  I realized this March it will be 15 years since my life forever was changed.

That brought a bunch of different emotions.  Shock, anxiety, disbelief, pride.

So here is the thing...each year, the beginning of March has always been the time my past has hit me the hardest.  Call it a morbid anniversary.

As I've progressed in my therapy over the years, I have still always allowed myself tears and anger between March 3rd and 6th.  It's always been my way of being okay every other day of the year because I knew I could allow myself those few days.

Some years have been harder than others.  (A lot harder.)  But there really hasn't been a year that I haven't still had extreme anxiety and tears.  I've worked hard to move past everything that happened to me, but I still have lingering emotions.  Each year, the beginning of March, I've never been able to escape without remembering so vividly lying in my bed down in St. George bawling.  Bawling and praying and pleading to not wake up the next day.  Those are some pretty intense feelings to have come flash back to the surface.

This year, I knew I needed to push myself for better.  8 years ago I started working hard to deal with all that happened to me.  (Yes, you read that right....it took me 7 whole years of stuffing my emotions in the back of my closet before they came raging to the surface and knocked me down.  Hard.)  And I have worked hard.  Shoot, I ran a freaking marathon 8 years ago to help parallel the work I did emotionally.  (Read about that HERE)  I've learned the importance of forgiveness, and that forgiving someone does not excuse their behavior.  I've learned that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I ever imagined I could be.  And...I've learned that there are many that have experienced the same horrible thing that I've opened up about.

Rape is not okay.  Ever.

Rape is not a joke.  It is never, ever funny when I hear people using the term to talk about a team dominating another team, etc.

Rape is real.  And lives are forever changed by this four letter word.

Rape is something a lot of people are afraid to talk about.  I honestly think that is why I had such a hard time dealing with what happened to me.  I thought I was forever ruined.  I figured I had no hope for a happy future.  I questioned if I could have fought harder in the moment  Or maybe not put myself in the situation. I have lived and re-lived the situation over in my head a million times.

There are many things I wish I would have learned before I was raped.  The biggest message that I want to shout from every roof top across the world:


The love of God is there for YOU, no matter your past, or your future.  No exceptions.

It took me a long time to realize that I am no less of a person because of what happened to me.  And, I've learned that I'm no less of a person because of choices I've made since.

This is why I share my story.  Over, and over, and over again.  Because if I can help one person out there know that they have value, then it's worth it.  We all face hard things in life.  Ridiculously hard things!  And one of the hardest things in life is to forgive people when they have never apologized, or when they wrong you further than you ever thought possible.  But I promise you, holding on to anger and bitterness only hurts you.

This year, my focus is on spreading love.  Self love.  It's okay to love yourself for who you are today. I don't care what you've done, or who's hurt you.  You get to make a choice today to look in the mirror and love.

Over the next 2 weeks I will probably be sharing a lot about my feelings on this subject.  And I'm proud to say that I've chosen to do differently this year from March 3-6th.  Instead of staying in bed, or crying, or eating my feelings away....I'm choosing to celebrate.  No, I'm not planning to celebrate what happened to me.  Instead, I celebrate that I fought to live.

I'm celebrating life and living and breathing.  I'm celebrating hard work, and self worth.  I'm celebrating choices, and the choice I made over and over (in my darkest moments) to live.  It wasn't easy.  But I look at my life today (which is far from perfect) and I'm grateful.  I'm grateful I chose to live.

Please, if you are in one of your darkest moments....know that the light will come again!  Life is worth living, even through the dark.  Because man, when the sun shines again it is so good!

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Low

Today was an exciting moment with my scale:

Here's to working hard through the weekend so I can see an even more beautiful site (170's) soon! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Diet Bet

Remember how I said I did some damage last weekend with my eating? Well, I was super careful this week! AND I pounded water all week, and sat in the sauna to try and get out all the retained water. I cut out all things sodium. 

Yesterday I weighed in for my dietbet and squeaked by with a win by 0.7 lbs. I found out I won some pretty good money too...

Not too shabby after betting on myself! 

Today I also saw this on MyFitnessPal and it made me happy...

Each day, I'm inching closer to that 30 lb lost mark! I can't wait to get there!!!

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