Hello everyone!! I know.. I know. I’ve been MIA since last year sometime. I’ve gone through the myriad of what I might say to explain my absence but I decided raw honesty is the way to go. So here it is. Raw. Real and (potentially) in your face.

I was tired. Ok. There’s more to it than that. But that about sums it up. Let me try and explain a bit. Have you ever “people’d” too much? You’re good to go for a party, you’re ready for a dinner with friends, you’re on an endless shopping trip and then BAM! You hit a wall and you’re DONE. You reach that point where you don’t care any longer about being out and about; you want your comfies, your blanket, your cat or dog and your TV remote and silence. That’s where I was. I basically hit a social wall and I wasn’t sure what to do about it so I did what any self respecting extroverted introvert does. I disappear. Sort of. I mean, I was still going to the gym but only half heartedly. I was still spending time with people but it took all I had in me not to cancel at the last minute.

Then 2020 shows up with a pandemic. I started working from home and everything, literally, hit me. I was stuck at home, scared of a virus I couldn’t see, afraid to touch anyone or anything and my gym, my home, my safe space closed.

Closed, ya’ll. Like…. shutdown due to government regulations. Like.. went virtual. I was shut in with nowhere to get out what I was feeling. I felt abandoned and alone, angry and sad and confused. All at once.

Which brings me to now. I’m remixing this business of ME. I joined 13 Stripes in August of 2018. As you probably know, I was 310 lbs. I lost very close to 95 lbs and was WELL on my goal to 100 lbs lost when the gym closed and we needed to shelter in place. I put a gym in my garage by slowly purchasing things I needed. I logged on for the virtual workouts and did them every day. I even REALLY watched what I ate even though my home office is our dining room and the kitchen is RIGHT BEHIND ME. I was keeping it up! I was feeling good. I loved seeing my friends and our coaches even if it was via a video chat. I was making progress and I felt better. And then I tore my meniscus and I haven’t been able to workout for almost a month and a half now. I fell into a depression and started eating things that I normally wouldn’t have like cheese and ice cream. It happens and we all need to learn to bounce back from it.

I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee two Mondays ago. The healing is going well and my stitches come out tomorrow morning. In about a week… I’ll be remixing everything. I’ll be taking pictures of myself, measuring my arms, thighs, and hips and keeping a very close log of inches lost, workouts completed and food eaten. I’m READY to kick it up about 10 notches and get back to what I love.

Elena… how are you going to do that when you’re still working from home? I know you asked that. So did I.

The answer is very simple. I DO NOT want to go back to where I was. The fear is real. I want to continue to be healthier and happier version of me. See.. working out isn’t just for weight loss or strength. For me, it’s MENTAL health, too. It’s my escape. For an hour I get to be with my people, I get to lift heavy things, I get to test my endurance with cardio, I get to pretend to jump rope well. I get to be in my element, my space, my zone for an entire hour. Let me say that it doesn’t end when the hour is over. I carry that attitude with me out the gym door and into my car where I make a nightly call to my Mom to check on her. It carries over to the work I do, keeping me busy and keeping my brain busy. I’m kinder, I’m gentler, I’m happier, I’m more willing to help. It’s all connected, folks. It’s LITERALLY all connected. So… here’s your challenge.

Join me! If you’ve been thinking you need to make a change in your eating habits, join me. Contact Joleen.

If you’ve been thinking ‘I want to workout but I need accountability’, join me! Contact Joleen.

If you’re on the fence about what gym to join, for me.. that’s a no brainer. We’re a family here at 13 Stripes. We aren’t just there to lift heavy and do some cardio. We’re there to support each other and, this is crazy, we make friends along the way. And for the record.. I don’t say this stuff lightly. I don’t promote what I don’t believe in. I love a good remix, ya’ll. So… let’s get at it see what we can remix for you!

See you on the mat!!!!

In love and lifting,


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