Friday, December 03, 2010
I think when I really started to be conscious of my eating habits, and which of them where the main culprits in the ever expansion of my backside, I was completely shocked but how much I ate mindlessly. I would get home from work and slice of 4 or 5 hunks of cheese and eat them while I made dinner. It was then that I realized I was eating a good sized block of cheese a week. Hello saturated fat, no wonder I was holding steady at my fighting weight of 345. In addition to said cheese I would sit at my desk and eat endless amounts of candy. Literally, I would hide the bag in my drawer at work and anytime I felt stressed I would wait until the office was noisy so no one would hear my rustling the bag. Yup, I really believed I was fooling anybody, I got fat by not eating lol. When I started SP I put it all in my tracker, as hard and shameful as it was to do so, and took responsibility for all those extra bad fats and calories and it was shocking. I was consuming 800-1000 extra calories a day and was not even conscious of them.
As soon as I put a ban on cheese (for the most part) in my life I immediately started to lose weight. Same thing with candy. I just can not have candy and sweets around me because I have no self control filter. The weight started to come off so rapidly it shocked me. You would think this would be enough motivation to keep eating the same way right? Wrong. What fun would losing weight be without a little self sabotage. As the weight loss slowed after the first 2 months I had to take a hard look at why this was happening and realized that I eat great at home and on the weekends, I know weird right, but because I work at an amazing caterer I was back to my mindless eating. Talking to the chef, try a bite of the duck confit. Walk past the lunch counter, a bite of a new style of croissant. Etc etc. As soon as this would start for the day it was a downward spiral.
I have to say I was pretty disappointed in losing the month of November with all I had going on in my life. My goal was to be down to 250 by the New Year and I absolutely could have done it but now there just isn't the possibility. While I didn't gain any weight and actually lost 1.4 lbs in the last 3 days alone I am not going to get there, especially with the holidays. My fiancé asked me this morning if I had stopped losing and I got REALLY upset. He was not being critical at all, just asking me about it, but it hit a nerve big time. I know I can keep the momentum going and the root of all of this is stopping my mindless eating. Period. No more bites of things at work, no more snacking while cooking. That extra 300 calories is really preventing me from reaching my goals. The last 4 days I really paid attention and was able to lose weight already. I am writing this all off as a learning experience and investing in a future of good habits and good health. Nothing is going to derail me. NOTHING.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
I have been feeling pretty bad about myself the past few days. Bloated, fat, unattractive. When you are losing pretty consistently it is easy to brush off these feelings because, hey, in another month I will look even better. Being stuck at the same weight has given me time to start the negative stream of consciousness dialogue in my head again. So far this week I was able to hop right back on the eating healthy way of life and was surprised how quickly the bloating went away just from all the water I have been chugging. Lesson 1-Ashley, drink your freaking water. Mmmkay?
On to the role model part of this blog. Even in the midst of feeling so bad about myself I was standing at the printer at work and my boss walks up and stares at me open mouthed and says "I really can't believe how much skinner you look right now". If I was physically able right then I would have done a back flip I was so happy. A couple hours later the other sales woman in my department rolled over to my desk in her chair and asked me if I could help her with something. I figured it was a menu or something. She got teary eyed and told me she had reached her point of being so miserable with her weight that she needed to deal with it and could I help her. I was shocked. I still consider myself in need of a lot of work and to have someone be so open and candid with me about their struggle and do it face to face was very flattering. We chatted about what she eats on a daily basis and figured out she eats too much at night and drinks too much wine when eating said takeout and snacks. It is crazy how someone can eat healthy all day and undo it so easily in just one meal. It was something I used to do as well and I really believe that is why so many people struggle with understanding why they are overweight. I only eat 2 meals a day how can I be overweight? Well when your dinner is 1600 calories its pretty easy!
To make me feel even more awesome our office assistant, who is thin and beautiful and completely sweet, was fidgeting around at the end of my desk looking nervous and awkward. I have always thought she looks gorgeous and never would have imagined she had food issues but I guess the grass is always greener. One thing I learned on SP is that you can never assume just because someone is thin they have it easy! I asked her what was up, I figured she wanted help with something new to her, and she asked me if she could talk to me about her eating. I was very surprised and said sure. She got closer and told me she hardly eats any real food and basically eats candy and junk food for her main source of calories and that he sister has a binge eating disorder and she is worried for her. Her main concern was that she would develop a similar disorder and how bad was eating sugar all the time for her? We had a wonderful chat about how unhealthy all this is and why and how that was my biggest issue that brought me to my heaviest weight and onto SP. I was more open with her than I usually am with people at work and she really listened to what I was saying and at the end she seemed to feel a bit better.
These are just 2 examples of recent encounters I have had with people looking up to me as an example. At the funeral and memorial my family members were all asking me how I did it and what I eat and we chatted about SP a great deal. I had never quite grasped how significant making this lifestyle change has been not just for me but for all the people around me. It is easy to get caught up in my own world and not think about how my actions, good and bad, affect those close to me. People even on SP tell me that this is really a solo adventure, but it isn't. Yes, ultimately what I put in my mouth is my own decisions but the support and love that you give to those around you, the inspiration you give to those around you, is anything but a solo adventure. By changing yourself you are changing, for the better, the world around you and you have the power to make that choice. People will admire you for having the strength they wish they had. You can help the people you love feel better, look better and find the path to better health, just by doing it yourself. Lets make December a healthy and happy holiday season!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Losing her has been one of the most difficult times in my life. She was a writer and would have wanted me to speak about her at the funeral, especially if I wrote it, so I did it for her. It was the most difficult writing I ever had to do. How do you adequately express how truly amazing someone is and pay tribute to 87 years in 2 pages? I did my best and part of my journey to being the person I have wanted to be all this time has been sharing my good times and bad times with all of you. So here is my reading. If you don't like that I posted this please do not comment. Thank you.
Reflections of the Eldest Grandchild
By Ashley Robin
When I began writing this my intention was to talk about Nan, the woman who was my grandmother. These past 4 days I learned who was Robin Foster and I realized I am not only my mother’s daughter but my grandmothers’ granddaughter. As we sorted through thousands of photos and read through her memories I uncovered a thoroughly modern woman.
A woman who told me she once had someone tell her she was “fortunate to marry a successful man”. A person who could make such a statement didn’t really know Robin.
A woman who struggled to balance her desire for adventure and knowledge with being a 50’s housewife and mother.
A woman who attempted to reconcile her faith with her analytical brain.
A woman who doubted herself and worried about her skills as a mother.
A woman who strove to feed her desire for knowledge while taking care of her entire family.
She voraciously consumed any information she was able. In every book and drawer in the house we found notes, news clippings, and letters. She dated and catalogued all of our lives
It made me realize how much I am like her and that is something I wish I had known years ago. Whenever we came to visit, she always had a lesson for us to learn and even in her death I believe she desired to teach me lessons about life.
• Family is the most important thing
• Material possessions do not make you who you are
• Hard work makes you a better person and is a reason people will respect you
• Honesty is a virtue
• Love is worth waiting for across years, continents and wars
• Learning is a life long process and is never finished
• Stop your busy life to admire the flowers, mountains and nature
• Have adventure in your life. Souvenirs will be lost and broken but the memories you make and the albums of photos you create will live on forever
• Keep a record of your life and family. After you are gone the people you love will find joy and comfort in your words
• Continue to grow in my writing. In the last year I found increasing comfort in putting my thoughts down on paper and I learned so did she.
• Life is what you make it so be the best person you can be.
• Forgiveness will set you free
• Don’t wait to appreciate loved ones until after they are gone.
As the first grandchild I had the privilege and honor of knowing Nan the longest. I looked forward to summers spent with she and Grampie at their house in Elgin. She always indulged our love of animals and the outdoors. I have very fond memories of saving compost scraps for the rabbit in her garden and lining up blueberries for the chipmunks. When they returned to Ipswich I looked forward to holidays with the family, Audubon camp, summer road trips to Mt Washington, the Red Jacket Inn and Harpswell. She encouraged my love of cooking and I remember many days of standing beside her in an apron rolling out whole wheat pie crust. I realize only now she was green before it was fashionable, she saved and recycled everything. I opened my freezer last night and spied my own bag of whole wheat flour and smiled. She believed in clean, healthy eating long before doctors where touting its benefits. I didn’t fully appreciate this way of life until my early 30’s. She tried to share with me her love of writing, language, and grammar. As a teen I was too busy with more important things to listen. Now that I am ready to hear her, she is gone.
When she told me she had been diagnosed with cancer I burst into tears. She made me promise not to be sad and that she was ready to see what lay ahead for her and she was ready to be with her beloved George. I tried not to cry when I saw her each visit because that was her wish. She studied death in her final years and I believe it was to help prepare her family in handling their own grief. Her final words to me were “be the person Grampie wanted you to be” and “we shall meet again”. I very much hope that is true.
A friend sent me this poem and I knew as soon as I read it that Nan would appreciate it so I will close with this…
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there
I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow; I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain; I am the gentle autumn’s rain
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft star that shines at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die
Sunday, November 07, 2010
This has been on my mind for the last 20 lbs as I am finally starting to feel normal for the first time in 14 years. My whole entire adult life I have been big. If you haven't read in my past blogs I was not a fat child. Three days before my senior year of high school I was in a car accident and suffered a spinal injury. I went from working out 2-3 hours a day 6-7 days a week to being in a body brace and bed ridden for 6 months. To say that was an emotionally traumatic event is putting it lightly. When you work out that much and are blessed with youth you don't really have to think about your nutrition and in retrospect I wish that a doctor had said to me "your life has completely changed and you need to drastically alter your food intake". The shock to my body and my psyche was completely devastating and I went into a serious depression. I saw a lot of doctors and psychologists. All of them made empty promises of curing me and tried to put me on a slew of drugs. I completely lost faith in all doctors and one day just refused to take any of the drugs. Not only was I not losing weight, they felt that antidepressants would make me stop emotional eating, but I was like a zombie all time. As the weight piled on I just felt so desperate, so lost, and so completely alone. I remember one day my mother telling me "why don't you put on some makeup and care what you look like anymore." I clearly remember the urge to punch her in the face. Here I was drowning and she was worried about what I looked like. Pretty typical for my family. Be pretty, smile and pretend it is all ok. Doctors told me that I was staying fat to spite them, maybe I was, but it was more than that. I was lucky to have met my first husband in high school and he supported me through all of this. I really do owe him so much because when I didn't even love myself he stood beside me.
For the last 14 years food was my escape and the resulting fat was my protection. It was like a shield, a prison. It protected me but it kept me frozen in time. Never moving forward, always staying unhappy, searching for that thing that could snap me out of it. I was never one of those obese people that was convinced I had medical problem or denied eating a lot (before you attack me for that statement, really think about it, may people NOT ALL are very much in denial how they got there). I accepted then and still do now, that I made myself that way. Nothing about my behavior was normal. Normal people do not go home from work and eat half of a tiramisu cake and drink a bottle of wine or order 2 meals at a chinese takeout place and go home and eat both until you feel like you can't move.
The point of this blog is now that I have finally faced down my emotional issues and jumped over many hurdles I can proudly say I have changed my life. When I was driving my fiancé to work this afternoon I said to him "I am never going back, I have seen the light of good health and I can never go back there" and I mean it with every fiber of my being. Now that I have reached a point where I look average and not obese I realized I don't know who I am anymore. Some people feel they aren't any different, just have a different body, but that isn't the truth for me. I was the none threatening fat friend. The girl you brought to a bar so all the guys hit on you because who would want her. Yes, I knew some of my "friends" felt that way about me and no they are not in my life anymore. I was the woman who was great at selling events because I am none threatening to other women. The woman who other women trusted around their boyfriends because I wasn't a threat, nobody would ever hit on me.
Do you remember at the end of Titanic when they show all the photos of Rose with all the amazing adventures she had, riding a horse, flying a plane, (gasp) wearing pants (it was a long time ago lol) and that is the woman I want to be. I want to take life by the horns and stop settling for the safe job, the safe vacation, the easy way out of things. I have always had these dreams in my heart but was afraid to make them my reality. Afraid to draw attention to myself. Afraid of the ridicule.
Who am I without the fat?
I am the person I wanted to be. Strong, powerful, in control, a leader, an adventurer, an athlete, a world traveler and my recent decision... I will be a business owner. My fiancé and I decided that after the wedding we are going to start looking for our own restaurant and I AM SO EXCITED. I want to own the kind of neighborhood place that serves up good food at reasonable prices but features interesting local dishes. I want to source everything from small local farms and bring healthy food to the people around me. How many nights have you bought KFC because you were exhausted and just don't have time to cook. If you had a local place you could stop and grab dinner for your family or just yourself that you knew was made with your health in mind wouldn't that be awesome? It is more work to make food taste good without the ease of butter and fat but it is something I believe in.
This blog turned more into stream of consciousness ramblings than the concise statement I wanted it to be but I am ok with that. This blog is my therapy and getting all of this jumble out of my head has really helped me move forward and deal with my emotions in a healthy way.
I am no longer the fat unhappy girl and I am excited for this new phase in my life. As my fiancé and I drove past a local boat house today I started thinking about all the photos I am going to be able have of my own (my big goal is to be able to go kayaking this summer) and I can't wait to be able to be active and do all the amazing things I have always wanted. This January/February will be the first time I have been on a plane in 7 years because I feared not fitting in the seats and being humiliated in public and I will finally be able to meet my inlaws and start planning our wedding in Colombia. I am finally living the life I was meant too.
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