Weight Loss Journey Week 7: Partner Workouts

Weight: 154.4

I did take the measurements I promised I would start doing last week, but I’m doing this post on my phone so I can’t insert the table. Next week, however, I will have the chart! Now onto this weeks topic.

Partner Workouts are extremely underrated. I’m honestly not sure how it goes down in the ‘real world,’ but in highschool most students don’t look forward to partner workout days. At my school, partner Workouts means finding a person you don’t despise and splitting 100 jumping jacks between you, then 90 squats then 80 something else all the way down to 10. Depending on how you split up the numbers and who you’re with, this can be either fun or really terrible, especially for introverts such as myself.

From ninth to eleventh grade, I didn’t really talk to people outside of my extremely small circle of two friends. So if neither of them were in my gym class, or if they partnered with each other, I had to partner with the other person who couldn’t find someone. That always made for an awkward class, as I was really shy and always nervous around people I wasn’t familiar with. This year, however, things have started to change.

Outside of gym, I’ve expanded my social circle way past just two other people. That means that in gym, partnering up is a lot less awkward. As a result, I’ve come to realize how underrated partner workouts are.

Instead of being super bummed out when I’m not with my one friend, I make an effort to be friendly with other people. I do still have one go-to partner, but I really try not to cling to her. I’ve partnered with a girl that I haven’t talked to since seventh grade. I’ve partnered with someone I’ve never really talked to. I really enjoyed both of those experiences. Working out together was a chance to bond in a unique way. Instead of just talking about meaningless topics, we support each other through the pain. We learn what kind of support helps the other person the most. We learn about their physical strengths and weaknesses. We both learn how much farther we can push ourselves with support. That is why working out with a partner should get more love than it does.

When you workout with someone else, whether it’s a workout for two people or not, you both do so much better than you would on your own. With someone by your side, you are held more accountable. You are pushed to do just one more, just a little farther. You are creating a bond with someone that you can’t create in any other circumstance.

How can I speak so confidently about this? Well, because I know from experience.


My First Boyfriend

One year ago today, March 8th 2017, my first real romantic relationship ended. So I thought it would be appropriate to write the story of our relationship.

Matthew R. was my first real boyfriend. (The three boys that fought over me in first grade don’t count.)

Our story started back in 2014, when he started going to my church. He didn’t go to church on Sundays very regularly, but he did go on the youth group trips. Spring break 2014, we both went on the trip to Lone Tree, New Mexico. It was a ten hour drive. Matthew, our friend Jamie, and I were all in the same van, second row from the front. I quickly developed a crush on him.

I think I fell for him so quick because I was 14 and hadn’t really talked to a boy outside of my family since I was 10. Going to an all girls school will make you kind of boy crazy. But I also just really liked talking to him. He was funny and had an amazing smile. He also knew a lot of random facts and had interesting opinions. At least, so it seemed at the time. Needless to say, it was  a fun ten hours.

We ran into each other several times at the camp. We went horseback riding at the same time and went shooting as well. We never ate any meals at the same table, but I always looked for him and hoped he would sit with me.

I remember on the way back from camp I pretended to take a nap just to try to get closer to him. It was me, Jamie, and then Matthew, so I put my pillow in Jamie’s lap. I laid my arms under my head just so that my fingers would brush Matthew’s arm. Being the gentleman he is, he moved his arm.

Fast forward about a year to the spring of my sophomore year. Matthew was at Sunday school for the first time in weeks, if not months. We sat on the couches and just talked. I decided I wanted to talk him more, and texted him that afternoon.

I tried to be strategic with my texting by not sending more than two texts in a row before he replied and other stupid things like that. I also tried to flirt, but I think it just came off as really awkward compliments. I texted him in class, even when the teacher was talking. That is something that I had never done before or have since, except for with my mom. I’ll text her in class, but not when the teacher is talking. Anyway.

I remember the day I accidentally on purpose told confessed my feelings to Matthew. It was early May. The youth group was having movie night in the summit, and I had gone with my friend Layla.

Lets talk about Layla for a moment. She shipped Matthew and me hard. For those who don’t understand what that means, let me translate: Layla really wanted Matthew and me to be a couple. She had this whole story where we would get married and she would be my maid of honor and eventually our millions of kids would save the world. Layla even went so far as to ‘steal’ my phone to call him. We called at the worst time though, as he was having a meeting with a teacher. Yeah. Awkward. And speaking of awkward…

Movie night. The Summit. Early May. Layla was telling everyone that Matthew and I were a couple, and I was going behind her and telling everyone she was lying. When the movie, Big Hero 6, started I texted Matthew and told him what had happened. I don’t remember the exact words, but I essentially accidently said that I did want to date, and he said that we should be friends for a little bit longer.

A few weeks later, I believe it was May 22 or 23, I was at his house to watch Doctor Who. You see, it had come out in one of our text conversations that he had only seen part of one episode of Doctor Who. I was like oh no, if this is gonna work out he is going to have to watch Doctor Who! So my parents drove me to his home. They went in with me to meet his family.

After the introductions, our parents sat at the dining room table. Me being the awkward little potato I am, I followed them. Matthew stood in the kitchen. Our parents talked and talked, and I stared at the table. Then something terrible happened. Somehow the topic turned to irritable bowl syndrome, or IBS. At my house we joke about IBS, because it was something my mother used to suffer from. I just heard IBS and started laughing. Everyone stared at me. I stopped laughing. I offered no explanation. That moment haunted me for six months straight and sometimes I still cringe today, I am not joking.

Soon after that disaster Matthew and I just started watching Doctor Who. He sat on one couch and I sat on the other. We ate pizza for lunch. He liked the show and took to pointing out all the plot holes and inconsistencies in the backgrounds.

The next time we hung out after that was my sweet sixteen the next month. I had invited Matthew and three other friends from school to go to the mall. That was a lot of fun. We walked from store to store, just browsing and talking. I asked one of my friends to ask Matthew is he liked me, but my friend was so shy and awkward to ask him. Another friend said that she was pretty sure he liked me though. We went back to my house once we were done shopping for ice cream and cake. I asked my youngest sister to ask Matthew to read her a story, because I wanted to see how he was with little kids. My sister asked a different friend to read the book. The friend she asked was a great story teller though!

That summer we texted every single day. I made an effort to always text goodnight, even if hadn’t talked since lunch time. I remember one week that he was away on a youth trip. When they arrived at the camp they were told to tell everyone they talk to regularly that they would not have phones for the next week. I was in bed when I got the call. I did not answer at first, but I did check my voicemail after several minutes of panicked thoughts. I don’t remember exactly what they were though. The voicemail Matthew had left was really bad. I could not understand a single word of what he had said. So that week I have no idea why he was not texting me. But I still texted him good night and that I hoped he had a good day every single night. I might have also texted him good morning as well.

At some point we stopped writing out good night and good morning, opting for emojis instead. I don’t remember when this started, only that it was before we started dating and he was the one who started it. Instead of sending good night he sent the angel emoji and the night emoji. A few days after that I started doing the same thing in the mornings. Angel emoji sunrise emoji.

I listened to a lot of Shawn Mendes music during this time. I still associate his music with falling in love.

The second time we hung out in person that summer was on August third. We went to the pool. He didn’t wear a shirt and I didn’t wear my glasses so I couldn’t admire the sight. In the pool my brother, Matthew and I played a lot of games together. We would throw diving toys and race to see who could collect this most and we would splash each other. Matthew always won those games. He was the fastest swimmer and could make the biggest splashes. I, on the other hand, would try to splash with my eyes closed  so he would just swim away while I was feebly splashing around.

After swimming we went back to my house. We watched a movie, but I don’t remember what it was. We sat next to each other, knees and arms barely touching. That’s when I decided I wanted to tell him how I felt.

When he went home that, I had not told him. So I made up my mind to tell him the next day.

It was evening on Tuesday, August fourth. My parents had gone to the store. My siblings were playing Nintendoland in the living room. I was in the living room with them, sort of playing, mostly texting. I told him that there was something I had meant to tell him the day before.

‘What did you want to tell me?’

‘I like you.’

‘As in, like like?’


‘Let’s talk on the phone.’

‘No! I’m too nervous, I would be able to speak!’

‘Okay, we can text’

Or something to that effect. I kind of made him ask me to be his girlfriend after that. 7:04 pm was the exact time we became an official couple. When my parents came home, I ran out to the car.

‘Looks like Daddy is going to need a shotgun after all.’

‘What? Why?’

‘Matthew and I are officially dating now.’

I tried to be cool about it, but I was actually just bursting with happiness and excitement. The next few days we texted about the logistics of our relationship. Who would we tell and when? How are we going to act at church? How are dates going to happen? I told my parents the same night, he told his the next day. At church we wouldn’t announce it or anything, but we also wouldn’t hide it. We would try to hang out every weekend, alternating houses. We also started talking on the phone every single night.

Talking on the phone was really awkward at first, but we soon fell into a rhythm. I would ask him how his day went, we would talk about that for a bit, then I would talk about my day for a while, then silence. I would try to keep the conversation going, but it was hard. He never really gave long answers or asked me a lot of questions. He also always played games while we were on the phone. I told him that I did not like that, but he still did it. I would rush to finish my homework so we could talk, and how does he repay me? By playing Xbox with his friends! If I really needed to talk to him I would tell him to turn his games off, but I only did that maybe two or three times our entire relationship. I did not want to be the controlling, jealous girlfriend. I wanted him to show me that he loved me by paying attention to me.

It wasn’t all bad though. He really was a gentleman. He always held doors open for me and he would help me do the dishes when we were at my house. When we were on the phone he made sure we hung up by 9 or 10 pm so that I could go to bed. I liked those sweet gestures, but the chivalry also kind of annoyed me. Most of the Saturdays we spent together my parents would leave us to babysit while they ran errands. When they came back with groceries, Matthew wouldn’t let me carry in any heavy bags. I did not like that because I wanted to help, my parents raised me to help with everything I could. I also made an effort to get to doors before him so that I could open them myself. Now that annoyed him, because he was raised to always open doors for others. We did talk about these pet peeves, but nothing ever changed. He never changed.

Let’s talk about something happier, like the first date where we actually snuggled. I believe it was a Sunday. Matthew’s grandmother had driven him to church that day, as his parents were out of town. After church we went to Luby’s for lunch, and WalMart to rent a movie from RedBox. We got Home, a very cute movie about purple aliens. We sat on the couch together during the movie. There is one scene where the song Cannonball by Kiesza played. During that song, he put his arm around me, and I laid my head on his chest. I was very comfortable and eventually wrote a poem about that moment. I made Matthew write half of it too. He said he didn’t even pay attention to the rest of the movie, which is a shame. Home is a really cute movie.

Another first would be our first kiss, which was actually the result of a bet/challenge. If I could watch 3 animes in 3 weeks, he would kiss me. I beat the challenge, of course. That weekend we were at his house. We were watching The Maze Runner movie, since he had loved the book series. There was a good chunk of the movie that neither of us paid attention to because we were both waiting for the other to make the move. After I don’t know how long he finally turned my head towards him and we kissed.

Yet another first is our first hug. There was one Sunday after church when he went to hug me goodbye, but I didn’t get the cue and I ran off to get my siblings from their classes. The next weekend my mom made me give him a hug.

I just want take a moment to talk about my mom. She is my best friend and I went to her for all of my relationship advice. She didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, she told me the truth. She always reminded me that most high school romances don’t last. That constant reminder really weighed on my heart. I later realized that was because it was true. On several occasions I made Matthew promise to never let me go, to never leave me. He always promised that we would stay together. Biggest. Lie. Ever.

Guys, there was one time when his dad told him he had to choose between me and his games. He called me in tears. He was sobbing because he might have to give up his games. At least he chose me over the games, but still! It shouldn’t be that hard to give up an Xbox over your girlfriend! I kind of kept assuring him it would be okay, but I was kind of annoyed too. Don’t tell me you love me and then cry when you have to chose me over stupid video games. That reminds me…

The first time we said I love you was at my house. We were watching Supernatural. I was in my desk chair, he was in another chair right next to me. I was leaning against him so our temples were pressed together. I kind of just blurted out I love you. After what felt like an eternity, he said I love you, too. That was a sweet moment. After that there was no hesitation to tell each other I love you.

He also never hesitated to compliment me. He always made me feel beautiful, no matter what I was wearing or how much I weighed.

We watched a lot of TV together. While he was catching up on Doctor Who we watched whatever episode he was on, then we watched that week’s episode when he was all caught up. Then he watched Supernatural up to the point I was at, and we started watching that together. I tried to get him into Sherlock, but that never really worked out. We also watched kid movies with my siblings.

We watched a lot of Netflix because we didn’t really have a lot to talk about. I always worked hard to keep conversations going, but he did not. I did like just watching TV with him, but I also wanted to have meaningful conversations.

There was one weekend when we were both sick at home, so we were talking on the phone. I found a list of 1,000 questions to ask your boyfriend. It took us two and a half days to get through all of the questions. In all of that time, we never had a deep conversation. It was all really superficial and simple. Which is fine… sometimes. Definitely not all the time. I would always try to have real conversations with him, but he never tried. For all that he said, he never showed me his love in any real manner.

Not that he didn’t show his love at all. He got me knitting needles and a thing to hold them in for Christmas. He got me a mini red rose bush and a box of chocolates for Valentines day. One time he went to an anime con wit his friends, and he texted me to ask permission to go into a maid cafe for lunch. A maid cafe is a Japanese restaurant where the waitresses wear little maid costumes. I said I wasn’t comfortable with him going there, and he set about finding somewhere else to eat. His friend then told me that the maid cafe was the cheapest option for food, and I let him go. But Matthew didn’t even mention the money. If he had I never would have said no, because I understand money problems, trust me. And it turned out that there were only waiters, all in tuxedos. So it was all good.

Some really good times were when we hung out with my friends from school. We had a Yule ball around Christmas time where we ate Harry Potter themed food and played Truth or Dare. Another time we played Sardines and Superfight and watched YouTube videos. On Halloween we all dressed up and went trick-or-treating with my siblings around my neighborhood. Matthew started this thing where whenever one of our friends wasn’t looking he would put his arm around me, and when she saw she would go ‘No touching!’ and he would wait until she looked away to put his arm back. He was Batman and I was Catwoman.

Matthew would also occasionally sing to me. I remember one night specifically when we were driving back from my grandmother’s house. I was resting my head on his shoulder, and he stroked my hair and quietly sang ‘I can’t help falling in love with you.’ I added that song to my ‘Our Songs <3’ playlist on Spotify the next day. Yes, we had a playlist of songs that either reminded us of each other or did a good job of explaining our feelings. Most of the songs were from him to me.

In the meantime, I was writing actual love letters. For his birthday and valentine’s day I drew little stick figures of us and hand wrote one page love letters. I also crocheted him a hat with a beard and I bought a Giant Microbe Herpes as a gag gift. I also gave him pictures of us.

In the fall of 2015 my family was doing our Christmas pictures in a park near his house. When Matthew heard this, he kinda sorta invited himself. We let him tag along. He took two pictures with the entire family and a few pictures of just us. Looking back, that was a mistake. Don’t take family pictures with your boyfriend. Ever. Especially when you’ve only been dating for 1 or 2 months.

That early on we were still in the puppy dog love stage. My mother told me that the first 6 months of any relationship are bliss, all pure childish love. She was right, of course. We dated for 7 months and 4 days, and that last month was just me delaying the inevitable. I knew God wanted me to leave him. But I didn’t.

Let’s talk about God for a moment. Another big piece of advice my mom gave me was that God has to be first in any and every relationship. To accomplish this, I made sure Matthew and I prayed together every night, and I prayed on my own a lot. I prayed that God would help both of us to grow closer to Him and that our relationship would go in the direction God wanted it go go.

Which brings us to the last month of our relationship. February was when God really started putting it on my heart that it was time to end things. I spent a lot of time actually crying, begging God for another option. I loved Matthew and I did not want to give him up. But I also knew that I needed to obey God. So, on March 8th, 2016, I called Matthew and broke up with him. I don’t remember exactly what I said. I know I talked about feeling like he wasn’t really putting effort into our relationship. And I know he didn’t defend himself at all. He said okay. If that’s what I wanted. He still wanted to be friends. In my head I was screaming ‘Fight for me! I love you! You promised we would always be together! I love you! Act like you love me too!’ It really broke my heart that he just let me go. I cried myself to sleep that night. I cried at school the next day. I didn’t go to school the day after that. I was so hard for me to not call him and try to fix things. I did text him a few times, trying to make sure he understood why we broke up. I also still gave him a Bible for Easter. He didn’t have a Bible. I wanted to give him one long before we broke up. I wrote a letter about how while God did tell me to end our relationship, it was not God’s fault and he still needed to go to church and follow Christ. He never went back to our church though.

That is what still bothers me today. Has Matthew completely turned away from God because of me? I don’t know. I have no idea how he’s doing. He’s not on any social media. I did text him on his birthday this past January, but he never responded.

What’s interesting about that is that we said we would contact each other around Mother’s Day to see if we were ready to be friends again. I did not contact him because I wanted him to make an effort for once. Needless to say, we have not actually talked since April 2016.

I’m mostly okay now. I’ve grown to rely more on God now, which is good. I would say I’m over Matthew, though he will always have a special place in my heart as my first love. I do miss that companionship, but I know that I will meet the guy God wants me to be with in time.

Matthew taught me a lot. He helped me come out of my shell more. Our relationship helped me grow closer to Christ. He helped me build my self esteem. Our relationship taught me what I want in a husband.

I am so incredibly thankful for the time I had with Matthew, and I wish he knew that I am doing okay. I wish I knew how he was doing. But I will trust in the Lord that all is well. All is as it should be.

Happy one year single-versary to me.

Weight Loss Journey Week 6: A Lifestyle, Not A Diet

Measuring Starting Last Today Total Change
Weight (lbs) 167 165.8 164.8 – 2.2
Arms (in)
Bust (in)
Waist (in)
Hips (in)
Thighs (in)

Ooo, look, a new fancy chart! After seeing this Instagram post from a family friend, I figured I shouldn’t just be weighing my progress in pounds lost. As Laura points, out, you can actually gain weight and be smaller because of muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. According to livestrong.com, one liter of muscle weighs 2.3 lbs while one liter of fat weighs 1.98 lbs.

With this in mind, I am planning on starting to keep track of the measurements in the chart. I will be taking the starting measurements on Sunday, February 19th. I think I will be better able to see my progress. Of course, I will probably only see a change akin to Laura’s if I keep up a healthy lifestyle like Laura has, which brings me to the main point of this week’s post.

Over the past week or so, I’ve come to realize that I probably can turn this ‘diet’ into a lifestyle. I used quotes on diet because dieting the way we know it doesn’t really exist. Your diet is what you eat in your day to day life, and you can change your diet to achieve different goals and for different purposes. If I change the purpose of my diet from trying to lose weight to being healthy, I will be changing my lifestyle. Instead of going through periods of gaining and losing weight, I’ll just be making healthier choices every single day and monitoring the physical changes. But why do I think I can exercise and eat healthy for the rest of my life? To find that answer, you need only look back at my weekly posts.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve made a lot of revelations about myself while planning and writing these posts. I’ve realized that I like to exercise. I’ve realized that I like salads and vegetables. I’ve realized that I can manage my emotional eating. These three realizations have led me to believe that I can do this for life. I like riding my bike and doing weight training, so why stop? I like eating salads and trying new healthy recipes, so why stop? There is no reason to stop, so I won’t.

Once I graduate from high school, I will need to make my own time to workout. But they have us write down all of our workouts, so I have a few years worth of stuff to do. I will also need to make more of an effort to eat healthy meals since I will be the one making them. But with my mother’s list of healthy recipes and awesome budgeting skills, I’m sure I’ll be able to choose healthy foods.

To conclude, my ‘diet’ is now officially a lifestyle change. I will still be tracking my progress and various changes I make through these weekly blogs until I graduate. But instead of focusing on losing weight, I will be focusing on making sustainable changes to my life.

Weight Loss Journey Week 5: Sal-ad

Image result for spongebob salad

On Saturday, February 4, I weighed 165.8 lbs. After Family Fun Day and Super Bowl Sunday, I weighed 167.4 lbs. What made me gain over the weekend is my old love for sweets and queso. But how did I lose a pound before cheating so bad? Why, my new found love for salad, of course!

In years past, I was pretty much indifferent to salad. Probably wouldn’t ask for it, but also wouldn’t automatically say no if offered a bowl. Last week, I decided to take a risk and get a pre-made bowl of salad in the school lunch line.

In the past I never tried one because I thought they would cost extra. But they don’t, so I got salads for a few days. House salad one day, pasta salad another, then chicken salad.

Then they had a peeta and humus looking thing, but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, so I got spaghetti instead. And I was sad. I ate the meatballs and a few bites of the pasta, and then I didn’t want any more.

That really surprised me. I love pasta! Why didn’t I want to finish my oodles of noodles? Because I wanted salad, that’s why!

Salad filled me up and the WWPP came from the toppings, so it was never more than 5 points for a lot of salad. And I felt good after eating the salad, better than I do after eating pasta or a lot of carbs. For example, today my family went to Cici’s Pizza for dinner to celebrate my senior speech (go here for that post).

Quick side note – my parents asked me what food I wanted at my speech the other day. We would have no time to actually go somewhere afterwards, so instead they wanted to bring me a little something, like a muffin. Know what I said I wanted? That’s right, salad! They got me a salad from HEB to have for lunch. Buuut I forgot it at home, so it’ll have to be my lunch for tomorrow. Okay, back to the Cici’s story!

I got a plate of salad along with my Cici’s pizza and pasta. I was happy. That is, until I started feeling gross and tired from the carbs. Then I found myself thinking “Man, I should have had more salad.”

This new found love for greens will definitely help me as I continue on my weight loss journey, because eating salads won’t be a chore. I will admit that picking out the purple onions in the pre-made salads at school is not fun, but that won’t deter me!

My Senior Speech

My mother’s introduction:

The beautiful young woman graduating this June, has a very special place in my heart. Not only is she my daughter but my best friend. I am amazed beyond words at the wonderful person she is growing into. Life has not come easy for this young woman. She has struggled to survive since the day she was born and she has beaten and over come any challenge thrown her way to this day. She is courageous,  she is intelligent,  she is compassionate,  she is Briahna Kaelyn DeAnda ……

My speech:

It’s okay to have one, two, or even no friends.

Society tells us the opposite. Our culture says you should be popular, have lots of friends. We are told that only the outcasts and lame people don’t have friends. About this time last year, I finally realized that society has lied to us.

When I was in elementary school, I never had more than two friends. Most of the time I had no friends. I kept to myself, read my books, thought about cats. I was oblivious to the fact that everyone else had friend groups of four or more.

In sixth grade, here at Ann Richards, I met other people like me. I had an actual group of friends for the first time ever and I wasn’t going to give them up.

But, of course, by the beginning of high school, the group had split and I found myself with just two friends. But I knew we would always be friends, because I was going to keep us together. Whenever the other two had an argument or misunderstanding, I did my best to help them make up. I tried to never say anything that could make them mad. It was very hard to be constantly walking on eggshells. It was upsetting to see the other two always hang out without me when I put so much energy in our trio. I would go home to my parents and tell them what was going on, and they would say that I shouldn’t be friends with them. They told me that’s not what friendships are supposed to be. I always resisted, said it was okay, it’s how teens are nowadays. In reality, I was just afraid to be alone again, like I was in elementary school.

Last January, I was finally just sick and tired of always trying so hard to be friends with people who didn’t even share the same values as me, of being ignored, of being around so much negativity. So I told them we can’t be friends anymore. And they didn’t try to tell me otherwise.

After that, I kept to myself. I read books. I thought about my cats. The one thing that I was terrified of happening had happened. I was right back to where I was in elementary school. And you know what? I was happy. I am happy. For the first time in years I’ve been able to be myself without worrying about what my friends will think. I’m actually talking to more people at school now. I’m building truer and better friendships now than I ever have before.

I’m not saying that we would all be happier if we didn’t have friends. There are days that are harder and lonelier than others. What I want you to take away from this speech is that sometimes you need to separate yourself from certain people so you can be your best, and that’s okay. Sometimes you lose friends, and that’s okay. Eventually you will find yourself surrounded with the most wonderful people. It’s just a matter of time.

Thank you.