Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Well, we're back again. These exercises are from Stacey Halprin's book "Winning After Losing." For a look at parts a, b, and c, go here:
So, moving on. So far we've talked about the old me and the new me and how my thoughts have changed since losing this weight. We've also tackled the daunting task of acknowledging some of my support system (though certainly not all!). Oh, and my favorite part of all was thinking about the thing I am the most proud of - which, for me, was learning to live instead of waiting to die. We're still on part 1: Celebrate your success, but we're moving on to new challenges of self-discovery.
Part D: Shedding the Invisibility Cloak
I struggle with this...a lot. On the one hand, I get nervous when people notice or compliment how good I'm doing. No, it's not only because I think "You are looking great now!" translates roughly to, "Man! I'm so glad I can finally tell you how hideous you used to look!", but also because there's this level of expectation that comes along with the compliments. Maybe I'm over thinking it, and it's not too much of a stretch to think I put these thoughts in their heads for them, instead of them actually having them, but I feel like every "I'm so proud of you" comes with a threat of disappointment if this doesn't continue. If I can't keep up my end of the bargain, those looks of pride will turn to looks of disappointment and my heart will break.
But there's another side to this coin too. I guess this is why it's different thinking about these things in mid-process rather than when it's all over. I have this recurring thought that people at the gym and elsewhere are looking at me and thinking I'm just starting out. Seven months, nay, several years of hard work mean nothing when people make snap judgments of me because of my weight. It saddens me to think that they might believe this is my first time on a treadmill. And I really do know I'm not so far off base when I get the comments and looks following my proud statements about the 5k and 10ks I've done already. REALLY?! It's hard to feel like your work can't really be appreciated, and it leads you back to the "I still have so far to go" thinking that many of us try to avoid like the plague! (and for good reason!)
Part E: Don't Swallow It, Say It
I'm going to be 100% honest about this part. I hate journaling, but I love blogging. Why? That's easy! Audience! We all want to be heard and having the support system that SP provides is a huge boost to that feeling of belonging we often feel we lack in our day to day lives. But does this mean I don't give myself "the credit as being a valid audience?" Well, yes, and no.
I don't want to live in my head. I know what it's like there, and sometimes it's really, really messy. Living there all alone is scary, and that's why I adopt friends to take the journey with me and help me pass the time without worrying about every single random (and they are very random, monkey, monkey underpants) thought that pops into my head and what it means and what I should do with it. But as much as I love my audience in a blog, be it 1 or 100, I write solely for me, with the chance hope that someone, somewhere can derive some sort of inspiration, motivation, or even just kinship through my writing. I can't count the times I've watched a movie and cried at a line just because it struck something in me, or read a book and completely snatched a quote out of context to apply it to my certain situation. These accidental meetings of another's mind with my own is something I think, perhaps, I can share with others by putting myself on the other end of the equation.
EXAMPLE: Just last night I was watching an episode of Parenthood (how can I not? Hello, Lauren Graham!) and this line struck me and made me actually cry: "Life will knock you down more times than you can imagine. Don't knock yourself down." Wow! Big, right?
Something else comes out of my blogging, and I'll likely need a whole other blog post to talk about this fully...it's a delayed thinking. Many times I write to write. I don't plan, I let my brain speak. I'll read this blog throughout the day and in the days to follow several times...and many times it's not until days later that I pick up some hidden sentiment or (usually) fear in what I wrote. I realize something about myself, but it takes days of distancing myself from the emotion and that one specific moment, to read about it and discover it more objectively. So blogging here connects that need for an external audience and sense of belonging with my sense of self-discovery through more objective readings later...if all that makes any sense to anyone.
EXAMPLE: For the past 2 days I haven't felt well, that is true. But it is also true that much of this is mental exhaustion, fear, and struggle from both the ups and downs I've experienced in the last few weeks. It's been a roller coaster of a ride lately, and my body and mind are having a hard time keeping up. It took me over an hour and a half to fall asleep last night...and took me an hour of off and on waking to actually get up this morning. It's not healthy, and it's physically draining.
Still, I know I need to really seek validation from myself. Something I struggle with is the fear that once the weight is off, there is a vast assumption that the journey is over, that the hard part is done and there are no additional struggles ahead. I know that won't be true. I Know It! It's all hard. Losing weight, maintaining, heck, just living life with a sane mind can be hard some times! But I know that the external audience will dwindle in times to come, and when all is said and done, I need to be comfortable getting my validation from myself.
Okay, now everyone repeat after me:
"I appreciate that you want to help me, but I'm not open to feedback about that."
What a great line to battle unsolicited feedback from folks. (I take no credit...that's right from the book! And I know some of my Spark Friends have been struggling with unsolicited advice lately, so I brought you some helpful armor.) Look, people will always think they know what's best for us...they did it when we were fat, why not when we're skinny? Whatevs. You gotta do what's best for you. Period, end of story. But people aren't generally trying to be rude (even though when we get immediately defensive, it may actually feel that way), but think they are really going to help us. They have the best intentions, but remember that road to hell?? Best Intentions, LLC paved that one too!
Part F: Stress Leads to Weight Gain
Increased stress = increased coritsol levels = BAD! (weight gain)
Okay, so we've all heard this, but when you hear of the biological/physical reasons for the actual weight gain that results from high levels of stress, it really makes me want to find trigger releases. It's like a grenade whose pin has been pulled, but whose trigger has not been fully released. If I can find a way to settle myself before I release my anger and stress, and lead myself down a road of binge eating, if I can find, instead, a way to pick up that pin again and replace it to it's original space, all will be well. I don't have answers for how to do that right now. In the past 7 month I have had high levels of success with this, and then, as if the past few months weren't a big enough indicator, increasing struggles with it. It's going to be all about finding those situations that stress me out, figuring out what my usual response is, and then testing alternative activities that can help relieve that stress.
I do know that exercise is a HUGE stress reliever for me. I told Hubs last night that I wish I had a punching bag in the garage so I could go out there whenever we're fighting. Lately, when we argue over stupid things that make no real difference, I will actually change my clothes and go to the gym to work out my aggression. It's a much healthier outlet, but not completely 100% realistic for handling every situation...that's why it's important for me to find other ways to dealing with it. No answers yet, just awareness.
I'll talk about the last two days more when I'm ready...which isn't quite yet. It's been emotional and telling, but I'm feeling much better today and I can't wait (and am simultaneously terrified) to go to the gym tonight.
Till then...I'll miss you, Alot! (*snickers*)
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Starting Weight: 466.6
SP SW: 416.2
Last Week: 342.2
Goal this Week: 340.2
Actual Weight: 339.2
Loss/Gain: -3.0 pounds!
SP Total Loss: 77
Total Loss: 127.4
Bye-Bye 340's! It was nice while it lasted, but now I'm ready to move on to better things and smaller numbers!! :)
First, let me tell you about yesterday. I ate pretty normally in the morning, my regular 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese and some coffee, before taking off for a walk. It was great! The weather was nice, and I wasn't worried about pace or distance, I just walked and watched how far we'd gone on my Nike+ watch. We walked a pretty long ways and I kept commenting to Logan about how difficult this same route used to be for me. It felt great to realize in the moment that I had progressed to this point in my fitness level! Almost 49 minutes later, with 2.28 miles under our belt (me, Logan, and Joey, our dog) and I hopped in the shower to get ready for our trip to Columbus.
The drive was beautiful! What a wonderful day to be out driving! We got to the restaurant about 20 minutes or so early and my aunt arrived about the same time. I got a ton of compliments all night about how well I had done and I felt especially prepared for eating because I had checked the Spaghetti Warehouse menu and nutritionals the night before. I made a plan with my 11 year old, he was to pretend he was 10, order what I wanted from the kids menu, and I'd order what he wanted from the adult menu. I felt like a genius! (Oh, and a tip from me to you, don't assume the healthy thing on the menu is the best for you - their regular 15-layer lasagna is about 750 calories per slice, which their vegetable lasagna is nearly double the calories!! Can you believe it?!)
I had some bread with their amazing garlic butter, a little more than I had planned, but I knew I had calories for it. When our entrees came, I handed over the huge piece of lasagna to Logan and took my small plate of Kids Spaghetti with 2 Meatballs (but only ate one meatball and didn't even finish all my spaghetti! *lol*). I had water and diet coke, switching off all night between the two to make sure I was keeping my water down. (I make myself "earn" my diet coke now! *lol*) When they brought out the beautiful white cake with whipped cream frosting, I took a piece. Two to three bites into it and I was getting a MASSIVE, painful sugar rush headache. I grabbed my head and begged Shane to take the cake away. My body wasn't used to the sugar and was responding rather painfully.
I'll have pictures to share later, once my uncle posts them or sends them to me. I even asked him to take an updated picture of Shane and I because it's been over a year since we've had a good one. He showed me the pictures on the screen and I wasn't depressed over the results! I took a picture with Cathy and Dan (whose anniversary it was), and then with my aunt Cathy and her bridesmaids. (I had to get on my knees in front of them because I'm taller than all of them! *lol* They were commenting on how I had just gotten down and gotten back up and my aunt Cathy talked to me about how she wants to do Zumba. The two of us share both red hair and bad knees, so she saw that I was managing Zumba, and now she wants to try it!) I actually can't wait to see the pictures.
After the party, we headed over to my friend's house. I knew she was with another friend of mine from HS and their plan was to crack open a bottle of our favorite wine. I ended up having about 3 glasses of wine before we left, and my head reminded me why I don't drink very often, but it felt good to sit around and laugh and hang out. I got more compliments from them on my weight loss, so that felt good as well.
All in all, it was a very good day.
Recapping last week:
Sunday - I'm not sure I ever finished logging. We went to Chinese buffet for lunch, so I ate most of my calories there, but I just wasn't hungry much of the rest of the day. I think I may have eaten a piece of bread with some peanut butter later, my own very special treat. *lol* Either way, I was good on my calories and don't believe I went over 2,000. 0 calories burned on my rest day.
Monday - 1628 calories eaten + LOTS of water! 60 minutes of Yoga burned about 318 calories.
Tuesday - 1965 calories consumed. That was great considering that I went ahead and ate a bit of the spaghetti my boss made during our training session that day. A long line dancing session, and 15 minutes pre-class on the elliptical = 901 calories burned.
Wednesday - 2139 calories consumed. YUMMY Potato Soup day! 14 minutes on the elliptical to start, and a 45 minute painful, agonizing pilates class = 534 calories burned for the day, and tons of muscles worked that I rarely work, apparently, I was sore for DAYS!
Thursday - 1763 calories consumed. AWESOME considering Hubs wanted Ponderosa buffet for dinner. I just wasn't that hungry, which is a great way to watch calories at a buffet! *lol* I got stuck cleaning at the house in order to move in a new couch, that heavy cleaning, plus a quick round with JM's 30DS and I burned 749 calories for the day.
Friday - 1830 calories for the day. Another accomplishment considering I had no clue what I wanted for lunch and was able to make a great choice! 0 calories burned on this very much needed rest day. LOTS and LOTS of water again - had to repair those muscles!
Saturday - 2113 calories consumed. I'm a rockstar! And our 2.28 mile burned about 324 calories.
Total calories burned: 2826 of 2270 goal!
All that for me, plus constantly reminding myself to DRINK DRINK DRINK of the water = a great 3 pound loss and a time to say hello to the 330s!!
My goals for next week:
Weight goal: 337.2
* 1900-2250 calories per day, but it's okay to be a little under, as long as I'm in the 1600-1800 range.
* Less sodium, which means eating more at home and prepping my food before work each day.
* Up those fruits and veggies! I'm just not getting enough and I want more! *lol*
* And drink drink drink at least 10 glasses of water a day!
Fitness Goal: Burn 2270 calories for the week.
Sunday - Active Rest day. Might get a little cleaning done around here.
Monday -No yoga, so it's back to the elliptical or treadmill for me. And ST!
Tuesday - Zumba (our instructor SHOULD be back!)
Wednesday - Pilates again. (Going to try stretching a little more before class.) This is ST!
Thursday - Zumba
Friday - Choice day: elliptical, rowing, boxing, SIBCCT, or whatever, and ST!
Saturday - 3 to 4 miles LDW
That's the plan, but plans can change, as long as the alternative burns similar or more calories! ;)
Oh, and did I mention - it said 339! It said 339!! My goal was to get under 330 by Christmas so I can get a Wii Fit board. If I lose 2 pounds a week from now until then, I should be there the week before! Either way, I see my goal and I see me reaching it, and that feels SO good.
On a side note - my friend approached me today about doing a Warrior Dash in Ohio next June. The idea is both exciting and scary! It's only 2.91 miles or something, but the things they want you to do...they actually scare me. Barbed wire to crawl under, cars to climb over, my hypochondriac self is barreling through all the illnesses and injuries I could get from one day's race...and yet, part of me wants to actually do it. We'll see. No need to decide until May...just something to think about...
FYI - I also posted some updated progress pictures yesterday and I feel happy about them. Finally!! Still a long ways to go, but I'm seeing it, I'm SEEING the progress!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Today was a good day.
I spent the morning with my coffee, 1/2 a wheat bagel, and Spark. I was super nervous about my upcoming interview at 1:30pm, but my Sparkie friends gave me the encouragement I needed. I painted my toenails and fingernails, I showered and shaved, I pulled out my favorite new size 26 black pants, my pretty blue/green 18/20 tank, and my size 26 dark gray blazer. Before I got dressed, I slathered myself in some lotion, something I very rarely do, but felt so good. By noon I was out the door and ready to head to Charleston for my interview.
I pep talked myself on the way there. I told myself not to think about what could be and what might be. I went through all the regular interview questions in my head. And then I got to Charleston and had a freak out moment. I had to find a place to pee. I had to find a place to park. I had to pull myself together. I did (and got a parking ticket *lol*) and headed in. A little stress when I forgot who I was to be interviewing with was solved with a phone call upstairs to the woman who had set up the interview and before I knew it I was upstairs waiting for my interview.
I walked into a room with 3 women and one man, all dressed rather nicely, which led me to believe (and rightly so) that they were the higher ups, the executives. Question after question I found my grove. I got some smiles and head nods along the way. I even got a "you've got a lot of qualifications" or something of the sort, which felt good. They asked me why I was best for the job and I told them. They asked me why I wanted the job, and I told them. We were jovial at times, serious at others. It felt good, I felt like I was in my element and really showing how confident I was in myself and my abilities. And my favorite part came at the end. "What question didn't we ask that you think we should have?" I thought for a moment and then said, "When can I start?" Got a few good chuckles and belly laughs from the whole group and even a "Oh, that was great!" They wrote it down, shook my hand and one told me several times what a pleasure it was to have met me. I thanked them for their time and was on my way.
After collecting my parking ticket, I checked my phone and got a voice mail for another place I had applied to. Called, left a message, and later got a call back with an interview set up for next Friday. On a roll baby! Next, I knew I needed food. I was hungry before I even got there, but I couldn't eat with all the anticipation. So I headed up to CATO and figured I'd find something on the way. Next door to CATO I found a great little new shop, Creperie Cafe, which I was nervous about before because crepes, to me, have always been desert. But I saw the sign and it said Gyros and I was headed in! A chicken gyro later I felt much better and my friend and I headed next door to shop.
It feels so great to be able to go into the clothing store and know that the majority of things WILL fit me. I found a beautiful new top and some new earrings for my aunt's surprise anniversary dinner tomorrow. I had a great time shopping and chatting with my friend. I felt good about myself. I felt good about life. I had broken through. Nothing was perfect. Nothing was solved, but I felt more powerful and in control again. It felt wonderful. Even the rejection letter in the mailbox from another place I had applied to didn't bring me down.
As far as my health and nutrition is concerned? On auto-pilot again, and I *love* knowing that I can do that and be good. It's not quite the struggle it used to be anymore. I didn't have any inclination to get fried chicken or a hamburger from the million fast food joints around CATO. I wanted something a little healthier that, and a chicken gyro wasn't a horrible choice. And it was great! I haven't had one in 9 years! *LOVE* I got home and had my grilled chicken and a baked potato. I didn't work out today, which was my one hope for the day. Usually I can't hold back, but I knew I needed the rest today. Tomorrow I need to try to squeeze something in before we leave for Columbus. The plan is a LDW of 3-4 miles, so I'm charging my Nike+ watch thingy so I can track as I go and ...just go!
Today was a good day. I'm hoping for another one tomorrow. Have a happy, healthy, and safe weekend everyone!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I nearly chickened out again this week. You see, I had really no clue what to expect from pilates. At one time I thought of pilates as yoga with pulleys and ropes, but it seems to have moved on from that. The guy at the gym told my son, Logan, that it was "Yoga on steroids." which seriously cracked me up at the time. But still, because I had no clue what to expect, I was, I admit it, SCARED.
Can a fat girl even DO pilates?
Can *I* do it?
Will it hurt my knee? What about my back...it was killing me and I didn't know whether pilates would help or hurt.
At 6:40pm or so I announced to my family that I would not be going to the gym. I didn't care. I was chickening out. Done. And then as Hubs and I started arguing over stupid, petty things, I went back to my bedroom and changed into my workout clothes and left. The gym is my release. It's my me time. It's just me, and my goals, and whatever challenge I want to take on. And, usually, I walk out of there feeling much better about myself. I needed the mood lift, and I needed time away from Hubs, who was frustrating the heck out of me. So I went.
I started my night on the elliptical right next to the skinniest, prettiest chick I may have ever seen. Seriously, if I knew some voodoo magic way to swap our bodies right then and there, it would have been D-O-N-E. *lol* After a few minutes of just going, I pushed harder, and the thought, "Let's show this skinny biatch what I've got so she can't doubt me anymore!" came into my head. And then this really funny thing happened....I apologized to her in my head. I apologized for making assumptions. I don't know her situation. Maybe she worked really hard to lose those 60 pounds she was struggling with, maybe she used to do unhealthy things to increase her body image, maybe a lot of things...I didn't know chocolate from poo about her situation and I had no right to judge. That was the first time I mentally corrected myself in my me vs. the skinny chicks mentality.
And then pilates started.
I wanted to cry. Not just once, but the entire time. The first few moves of "warm-up" felt a lot like yoga, and then the similarities took a left turn and headed into the woods. We did leg exercises...lifts and making circles in the air, small ones first, then big ones...and it all hurt, and my legs and feet cramped up, and a couple times I had to stop, but I tried to Jillian myself through it. It hurt. My legs were cramped almost the entire time. Downward dog near the end HURT because of the cramping. After those leg circles, I couldn't do a proper leg/hip stretch at the end because it all just HURT...a lot. The only parts I enjoyed (kinda) were the rolling back to the shoulders and back up part, which I did twice, and yes, it friggin' hurt, but it was still fun, and the leg twist stretch part. I have no clue the name of the pose, so forgive me. we do it in yoga. We did it in pilates to stretch out again. You're seated, one leg out, the other leg, foot on the floor, crossed over the down leg, and you twist your body. The instructor said, "If you don't feel this in your hip, you must be in great shape!" I didn't feel it in my hip...I felt it in my back. WTF does that mean? *lol*
What's the verdict then on pilates? TBD. You see, I got those cramps the entire time, and I tried to work through them as much as I could, and I wanted to cry the entire time, but when we were done, after the final stretches and everything - no more cramping. Something had worked to work out those muscles. Plus, I don't believe in judging something after only one experience. I'm a girl scout, dangit. We had to take 3 bites of something before we were allowed to say we didn't like it. So I'll do pilates again, and then I'll judge. Maybe I'll get better at it, like I did with yoga. Maybe I need to do some extra stretches before she even starts us off. *shrug* But one time isn't enough. I don't go down that easily.
After our 45 minute session (thank anyone listening that she didn't go a full hour! OMG! *lol*) I got up and put my things away, and I kept having this feeling like my body was going to crumble into a heap on the floor that very second. It took everything in me to go to the locker room, pick up my things, put on my coat, and get to the car. And then I almost cried the entire way home. I'm not sure if it was the pain, the disappointment of not being able to do it, or if there was some emotional chord struck within me, but I had to fight back tears the entire way home. All I could say over and over was, "pilates is MEAN!"
For today? I got up early to go to yoga this morning...but I couldn't do it. It wasn't the yoga that was the problem, it's the time! 8 am for a class is just REALLY early, especially on my day off! *sigh* At least I actually got up and made that decision, instead of just snoozing through it. My right calf is wanting to cramp up on me right now, I can feel it. And I gained a pound from pilates, which means I know it really worked my muscles and they're repairing. At least I have the day off and I have my choice of what I can do today.
- Line Dancing 6pm
- Zumba 7pm
Or I can go on my own time and either walk on the treadmill, or around the track, or play racquetball, or box, or do the elliptical, or row, or whatever I want!
One thing that has suffered this week is ST. It's all the yoga and pilates - my muscles feel so sore already that there just isn't enough in me to get in all the ST. I'm trying to keep it basic right now, and letting myself off the hook if I don't hit every single check mark on my list. Maybe I'll feel like it later...maybe not. *shrug* I miss my leg press, but I can't imagine trying to do that right now with my legs still so sore from yesterday. Honestly, I may just count pilates as my ST for yesterday and I don't think that's far at all from the truth. Bridges and "modified" planks and leg raises and heel raises and all that? Sounds like ST to me!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I hate self-help books. The only thing I hate more than general self-help books, though, are diet and weight loss books. Let's face it, most of them say pretty much the same thing. And many of them include some diet that, if followed, will allow you to lose all your weight and make you the happy, healthy person you always wanted to be. It all seems so easy...too easy, because, seriously, who can follow the strict meal plans of most diet books? I've been given several books in the past. The Sonoma Diet book is sitting somewhere in my house. I never read it. I skimmed it, but half the things they wanted me to eat I simply don't like. And, I don't know about the rest of you, but eating things I don't like for the rest of my life seems like a pretty lousy way to live, therefore, for me at least, it's not sustainable.
The other day I was walking through Odd Lots. We were there to pick up trash bags, but I happened upon a bin of books, originally priced at $3 and marked down to 50 cents each. For someone who loves reading and loves absorbing all kinds of books, 50 cents was just too good a deal to pass up. I started digging. Along with an impulse fiction buy and 2 Artemis Fowl books to read with Ethan, I picked up a book written by Stacey Halprin called Winning After Losing. Whatever, it's only 50 cents. No skin off my back if it's the same regurgitated crap that every other self-help weight loss book on the market touts. The picture on the back was certainly interesting. There are actually two, one of Ms. Halprin near her highest weight of 500 pounds, and one holding old underpants (which she jokes, aren't a flag) next to her new skinner, but not "perfect" body. I know I recognize her from some television show or another, so I figure with the work she put in to lose the weight and the fact that she isn't "perfect," she deserves me giving her a chance and hearing her out.
I knew things were different from the get-go. Upfront she tells you that this book won't focus on diet and exercise. This book is geared more toward the maintaining phase, toward the emotional battles and experiences that come from being more "exposed" after shedding layers of protective fat. "I decided to write this book because even though there are hundreds of books that tell people how to lse weight, I couldn't find a single one that explained how to keep the weight off." she says in her introduction. She sets up her book as a step-by-step guide to examining your feelings and emotions, the things that caused you to put the weight on in the beginning, the fears you have once you've hit goal, and the struggles that come with the maintaining phase.
First of all - no, I am not in maintenance mode. I still weigh over 340 pounds and have a LONG way to go, but why wait until the end to dig through the emotional nonsense? My diet and exercise are pretty well figured out. I can run on autopilot right now and still lose weight at this moment, so why not spend this time wisely, by working on the mental battle. I figure that, perhaps, and hopefully, I'll be setting myself up for success by dealing with it as I go. I refuse to yo-yo again. Plus, when I REALLY started this journey I was 466 pounds. I've lost nearly 125 pounds so far, and I kept most of it off for several years, going into maintenance mode for a while in order to focus on other things - like learning to love myself and giving myself permission to go after my goals/dreams. I'm hoping these exercises will also bring me back from my funk. (Today is worse than yesterday, but better than the day before. My back has a knot in it, which has given me a huge headache that nearly took me back to bed this morning. I'm simply counting down the minutes until I can go home again. At least I have a four day weekend ahead of me!)
Halprin suggests writing down these exercises in a journal. Well...this is my journal, so I suppose I'm going to be completely honest and raw and share the mental nonsense with all of you. Heck, you might want to raid your local Odd Lots bin (or search online) for a copy of the book and follow along with completing these exercises.
Step One: Celebrate Your Success
Say Hello to the New You
* Part A: The Old You and the New You
List the things you're most proud of, things you couldn't do before that you can do now.
I'm most proud that I feel more like a person living than a person dying. At 466 pounds, I awoke with a sense of not wanting to look at the world around me. I felt like a failure. I felt like my life was over. I was in my early 20's and I was preparing myself and those around me for my death. I broke off friendships and retreated into myself. I wouldn't give any more of myself to anyone because I was too busy being wrapped up in the process of killing myself. Now I wake up each morning with the desire and will to live. Things aren't all the way I want them to be and, yes, some morning I simply want to go back to bed. But it's not because I don't want to live, it's because I've not yet gotten into a job that makes me feel fulfilled. I want to live, I yearn for it. Even those days when I'm off I wake up pretty early in the morning to start my day. I can't wait to get outside or get to the gym. I can't wait to spend time with my family. I can't wait to be active and feel my legs move under me! I want to go, see, do, experience -- I want to LIVE! For me, that's the most exciting change of all. Sure, I love that I can walk without getting out of breath. I love that I can go hiking and play tennis without feeling like I'm about to die of exhaustion. I love that I can wear smaller clothes and that I look better in clothes. I love that I can cross my legs again if I sit just right. I love that I can actually "curl up" on the couch because my stomach is smaller. But the most exciting thing of all is the transition within of waiting to die to wanting to live!
* Part B: Acknowledge Your Support Team
Make a list of everyone, from your partner, to your friends, kids, coworkers, neighbors, relatives, and pets, who has played a part in your success.
- Shane. My husband is a quirky man. We fight from time to time. Sometimes they are brutal, evil fights and we say the most severe and mean things to each other. There were even times when our fights got physical (man, that feels so long ago!). But the truth is, we literally grew up together. We met when I was 12 or 13 years old and we've been together, for the most part, on and off, ever since. We've learned our triggers and, sometimes, I think we know the other person better than we know ourselves. More than the love of my life, he really is my best friend. He's been with me through my parents' divorce, through the times when my abusive father crippled my self-esteem, through my depression, through the birth of two children, through the times when I felt like the biggest failure, through the times when I didn't stand up for myself, through me being practically bed/house-ridden and 466 pounds - and he's been with me when I demanded respect, when I felt like I deserved the world from him, when I felt like I needed more out of life, when I got a little selfish and found my happiness, when I felt stressed and overwhelmed, when I felt the world of possibilities before me, and when I started taking care of myself. He has loved me through it all. Who could ask anything more from a mate?
- Logan - When I was 17 years old, my life changed forever. I was a pregnant teenager, and the disappointment of a large extended family. Many times I considered giving up, because the look of disappointment on the faces of people I admired so much broke my will and my spirit. But I didn't know how to abandon a child...that wasn't in me. At 18 I had Logan. For a long time he felt more like a little brother than my own child. (I had always wanted a little brother growing up.) I called him my Bubby and suddenly, life was tougher than I could have ever imagined. He was difficult at times, but he made life bearable because in him there was hope. I clung to him, and, at times, I still do. Now he's 11 years old and he goes to the gym with me sometimes (last night we did line dancing together!). He's not the most driven or coordinated, and once he gets bored of something he's done with it...and while, at times, that drives me crazy as I attempt to complete the goals I set for myself, mostly he reminds me that it shouldn't be all work, that it CAN be fun, and that we can make it that way. He's still my rock. I adore him.
- Ethan - My mini-me is the sweetest and most temperamental child I've met since, well, since me. *lol* Our resemblance goes far beyond looks and into the heart of who he is, into his personality. He's extremely loyal and attached. He wants nothing more than to make those people he cares about, and sometimes even complete strangers, happy. He wants of acceptance, recognition and success. He wants to be notice, but he doesn't want to be the center of all attention because the burden of living up to that expectation is too much to carry. He loves me deeply, and I never, ever, ever have to doubt that for a second.
- Mom - She was my shelter in the bad times, my light in the darkness, my protector and comforter. If it were not for my mother, I promise you that I would not be here right now. She held my father back from the edge of killing me. She pulled me back from the edge of killing myself. When the world was falling apart around me, she was there, doing what little she could, which was just enough to save my life. My mother is not superwoman, but I do hope she realizes that not only did she will me into this world, deliver my infant body, and shelter me from the elements around me, she saved my heart from dying, she saved me from complete, irreversible damage to my self-esteem. There aren't words enough to thank her for what she has done, and continues to do for me. When I first started this journey, I made a comment to her about how I chose to eat a salad one night because I was trying to be a good girl, and it was my mother, my angel who said simply, "You are always a good girl, whether you eat good things or not." It was important to hear so early, and has saved me a from a tremendous amount of guilt in those times when the temptation monster wins out and I give in.
I'm going to continue to add to this list as I continue this journey, because I know that I will never be able to complete it in one sitting. In fact, you Sparkies are going to need a section all your own!! *lol*
One last section, just because it goes so well with the others. (Sorry this is so long!)
* Part C: Before and After
-- The Old Me --
I used to see myself as: a failure.
Most of all I wanted to be: thin and happy.
More than anything, I wanted to be able to: breathe without hurting.
Every day I hoped: I would find and be loved.
If I had one wish it would have been: to be thin. (I thought it was the answer to everything!)
My favorite dream for my future: was to be thin, rich, and the happiest person alive.
-- The New Me --
Now I see myself as: a work in progress.
Most of all I want to be: proud of myself.
More than anything, I want to be able to: live without fear or restriction.
Today I hope: that those around me can share in the light of every day.
Now I wish: that I could spread the joy I've found to others suffering and in need.
My favorite dream for my future is: being content within myself and sure of my abilities. (It's funny, I no longer care about being rich, I just want to be comfortable.)
Ah...now time to let that digest a bit.
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