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Getting healthy for me is 100% mental-My story

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I tried on off for 14 years to lose weight. I failed time and time again. Tried every single diet known to man other than pills and surgeries. When a doctor who had never even looked at me suggested I get bariatric surgery to my horror and the horror of his nurse, I gave up on the medical profession. After he left she looked at me and said "honey, you do not need surgery. You are young and have no health problems. You can do this and not have all the side effects and complications of a surgery like that." I still am grateful to her for looking beyond the formulas of Western medicine and caring about me as a human being.
This experience made me keep searching for the answers. I never fully in my heart believed I was destined to be fat for life. There had to be an answer, an aha moment, when I would find what clicked for me. Intellectually I did not want to accept defeat and believe I could not overcome this and be free. The addiction kept sucking me back in and with every failure I sunk deeper into depression.
The thing is about weight loss. The more you fail, the harder it is to try again. Here is why...
This is ALL a mental game. A very small percentage of people have a true medical reason they can not lose weight. It is easy to try and believe you are one of those people but the chances are very slim. Who doesn't want to believe that they aren't the reason for their own misery?
My truth is I felt so badly about myself by the time I reached 345 lbs that I had no hope left. I didn't even bother to try and lose weight because I didn't even believe I could do it anymore. That fire inside me had slowly suffocated and I buried it under excuses and lies to myself for years. Then one day there was a spark again and I knew if I let it die that I would end up like my aunt, 600 lbs, almost a shut in and I could not spend my life that way. As my fiancÚ and I built our life together and started dreaming about kids I knew that I could not sustain a healthy pregnancy at the weight I was at. One thing I haven't shared is I have a medical background and a BS in pre-med as well as grad work in nutrition. Ironic right. I knew the risks, I knew what would happen if I got pregnant. I had to make a choice. Love myself, love my fiancÚ and desire this life or let him go to live the life he wanted and I would eat myself to death. It sounds rather dramatic but I don't sugar coat things. It is the reality.
One day, I chose me and our life together and I started fighting my own negativity. I never drew a mark in the sand and said "I am on a diet". I just put the knowledge I already had into practice. I went to the gym with my mom once a week. She was already a trainer at that point so she created a program for me and I felt confident standing next to her that people wouldn't tease me. The first time I got on the stepper it sank to the floor and I couldn't make it move. I was sad but not defeated. Every single time I got on it and tried and the first time I could even get it going was a victory.
I started making better choices food wise. If you don't get the emails from "Eat this, not that" I highly suggest you check it out. I never weighed myself I just made better choices. No more heavy snacks on the couch, I had pickles. No more endless margarita's. I have maybe a glass of wine or 2 on the weekends but the days of high calorie cocktails are over. I thought about what I put in my body. The whole time battling the voice that said I couldn't do it and telling it to shut up.
I went to a doctor's appointment for something not weight related and again the doctor brought up my weight. I replied, "well I have been eating really well and exercising. I know I have lost weight but I don't know how much or even what I weigh." She looked at my chart and said "well you were 345 when you were here last year and so you have lost 35 lbs". Her face lit up and she said "that is amazing, keep it up". I was excited to learn I had lost so much and wasn't even aware of it. However, I was deeply ashamed I had gotten so high and didn't even know it.
I joined Spark a few months later when I hit a plateau and lost another 45+ lbs. I have always had all the tools and information I needed inside me. What I needed was the confidence and desire to implement them. I had to love myself enough to keep fighting like I am now. To choose me and my future over a donut or a piece of cake.
So I say to you, all of you. Whom are such a huge part of why I am able to stay sane and focused. This is mostly a mental game and you are fighting against yourself. You have to dig down deep and find it within you to keep going. You are worth it and you can do this. It is a choice, a choice to live. A choice to be free. To choose you.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMYMOHIO 2/9/2011 5:44PM

    This is beautiful.

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WEDDLEACE 2/7/2011 10:30AM

    Wow. The part where you say "Love myself, love my fiancÚ and desire this life or let him go to live the life he wanted and I would eat myself to death." struck me to the core. I see myself in those lines. Choose myself, love my husband, work for the life we want and can have...or eat ourselves to death. Thanks for being brave enough to share!

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JBMT08 2/4/2011 10:12AM

    AWESOME!!!!!!! I am going to work on my "mentals" and just DO IT!!!

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GO-LOEW 2/3/2011 5:38PM

    Exactly!

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SEESTARS 2/3/2011 12:16PM

    Great blog. I agree 100%!!!

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OJIBWEEQUAY 2/2/2011 11:44PM

    I just threw my icing out the window!!! no really

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MAIA2011 2/2/2011 1:51PM

    I keep hearing about this mental thing on the blogs of my SparkHeroes who have shed so much weight and are honest, funny, and smart during the process.

What if mental is the missing piece? What then, doc?

(BS in pre-med is serious stuff. I know the S means lots of math.)

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DEB181 2/2/2011 1:20PM

    your my NEW Best SPARK friend ... mmmuuaahh !
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KATHLOW 2/2/2011 5:08AM

    hmmm. get out of my head please. yes i know what i need to do - but do i believe i can? i don't think so!

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NANHBH 2/2/2011 12:46AM

    Yeah, Ashley, for choosing to love yourself. I'm choosing me, too! Thanks for sharing your "lessons learned." They are really helping me!

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TERRYT55 2/1/2011 7:42PM

    You write the most insightful blogs. Thank-you for sharing.

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BELLALUCIA 2/1/2011 7:08PM

    Thanks for the insight Ash!

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EVRLNGFOO 2/1/2011 6:48PM

    great blog! you have said some very, very valuable things here. i think we all forget the most important person we need to be doing this for: ourselves. we need to think of our futures and our loved ones and we need to be the best person for them. there are too many "easy" answers out there that people try and just fail with. repeatedly. it's a vicious cycle and people are left feeling worse than before when a magic cure doesn't work. thanks for motivating me today!

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MAMADWARF 2/1/2011 6:37PM

    I am so proud of how far you have come. And I am so happy that we both ended here and go to be friends. What a blessing! and you are right. It all boils down to us. Nobody is doing it for us, there is no magic. Just us. ANd that's enough. Love you, ash!

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EVANSPROUDMAMA 2/1/2011 6:07PM

    emoticon and a huge emoticon on losing so much already! Thank you for your blog today I am motivated by you and reminded that I am the only one stoping me from being the real me thats stuck inside! emoticon

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HEALTHYONE2008 2/1/2011 5:39PM

    Thanks Ashley, you sure do have a way with words!
You are so motivating! So many of us are ready to give up when the going is hard, you just keep moving on and take us along with you.

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BLONDEPOODLE 2/1/2011 5:35PM

    Great job, it's wonderful that you found that initial spark on your own!

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KEVINDHARE 2/1/2011 3:28PM

    speechless. Thanks for the wonderful words and..pardon the pun...food for thought.

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HANNAH_CALM 2/1/2011 3:03PM

    This is a very moving blog, Ashley. I'm glad you've found the courage within yourself to work on your health, and write these amazing blogs. You're doing such a good job right now, keep it up!

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TBID227 2/1/2011 2:17PM

    So true! Thank you for sharing.

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PELESJEWEL 2/1/2011 2:05PM

    emoticon Couldn't agree with you more!! I experience it every week when I attend the group run. When your mind is strong, the body will follow. I'm easily 10 years older & 30-40 lbs heavier than the other gals in my run group, and there I am running the same distance and in the same amount of time. I know they wonder how I do it, it's all in the mind!

Comment edited on: 2/1/2011 2:06:48 PM

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DUSTYGIRL25 2/1/2011 2:01PM

    Beautiful Ashley,

Your doing a fantastic job and such a fantastic motivator!
Thank you for being my SparkFriend.

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SKINNYINMYHEAD 2/1/2011 1:59PM

    and a hearty AMEN!

Annie

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RIGBY31 2/1/2011 1:55PM

    Oh Ashley, you are so honest and I love that you "don't sugar coat" your words. Your truth is helping set me free.
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MEGANC1988 2/1/2011 1:44PM

    emoticon

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JENN26POINT2 2/1/2011 1:06PM

    Great blog and great story! Keep up your amazing work!

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SARAHNICOLE__17 2/1/2011 12:52PM

    This blog is absolutely raw and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

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MELLYBEANS0919 2/1/2011 12:38PM

    Fantastic! Congrats! Thank you! Mental aspect certainly is key. How do I receive e-mails from Eat This Not That?



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MY2CHIX 2/1/2011 12:24PM

    Thank you for sharing your blog, it helps to know others are/have struggles the same as mine!
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JLJOYNT 2/1/2011 12:21PM

    Wow! Thanks for sharing and for reminding me that I am the only one who can make this happen.

Have a great day.

Laura

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AMOHAME2 2/1/2011 11:55AM

    Thank you for sharing your story!! It really is all about the choices we make and the way we approach weight loss and health from a MENTAL perspective! People often forget that it's not all physical, and in fact it's less a physical journey than a mental one!

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AGALAVIZ 2/1/2011 11:38AM

    LOVE IT Ashley Thank YOU!!!!!

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TIFFYBABY26 2/1/2011 11:36AM

    wow!!!! Thankyou!!!!

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LILMISSRED79 2/1/2011 11:34AM

    Such a beautiful and powerful blog, and so true. Thank you for sharing this, Ashley! It really is a mental game.. and each morning we have to wake up and decide to put ourselves first and not give up.

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LCHADBOURNE 2/1/2011 11:29AM

    You are so great! I love love love reading your blogs. You are so honest and heartfelt and inspirational. I felt the very same way before finding and feeding that spark within me. Its such a defeating and self distructive rollercoaster, but once you find it with in yourself to get healthy and find that internal motivator...look out world! I'm so glad that you found yours too.

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GRACEISENUF 2/1/2011 11:28AM

    I really needed to read your blog this morning. I am "digging deep" today as I have hit a dreaded plateau...UGH!

I WILL NOT let this get me down and I will press on. Thank you Ashley for this blog.

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JRSGIRL1995 2/1/2011 11:25AM

    Thank You!! Thank You!! Thank You!! I wish I could reach out and give you a big hug. I so needed to hear this today. I am in tears and at a lost for words-so THANK YOU! emoticon

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BRIAEL 2/1/2011 11:22AM

    I think many people with a great deal of weight to lose are daunted by the numbers, instead of taking it one day at a time, one meal choice, one exercise at a time.

You're absolutely right - you HAVE to make the choice to start. Small successes, week after week, will eventually lead to a goal weight. It's just easy to become sidetracked and disillusioned, to feel deprived when others around us seem to eat freely and not gain. But, I like to think my insides are better looking than theirs, and that's the truly important issue. :)

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I truly have changed my life and this is how I know

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday was one of me and my fiancÚ's rare fights. This was an all out big one and normally I would have sulked and cried and not gone to the gym 1) because that would upset him and to be spiteful (this is the old me we are talking about) 2) I would have kept at him and tried to control the fight and 3) I would have used it as an excuse not to work out. This Sunday was different and I don't know what it was specifically inside me that made the difference but I grabbed my shoes, quietly closed the door and went to the gym. I went into the bedroom with the intention of sulking and all I could think was "Ashley, why are you wasting this day? You want to get this workout in and you know it will make you feel better."
When we fight it shakes me to my core. I hate fighting and I hate saying negative things to eat other. We don't name call or things like that, we fight fair, but I still hate it. Life is too short. I had promised myself as upset as I was I would just do cardio and tackle my upper body ST another day. As I worked I could feel myself caring less about the fight and feeling better about myself. I had picked me. This is huge for me. I always worry about making him feel better and fixing it to the detriment of myself. Today, I did what was good for me. I can say I don't consciously remember the last time I did that. It feels awesome. In reality the problems would still be there when I got home and taking this time for myself wasn't going to change that so why did I never choose me before?
When I finished my cardio I looked over and the weight area was empty which NEVER happens so I thought "this is the perfect time to work out, I am not wasting this" so I went over and got in my whole planned work out. I was shocked how weak I had gotten so quickly and it was tough for me but I still managed to push through. I kept picturing myself looking better with each rep.
When I did get home a few hours later we were able to talk through the issues and resolve them. A good relationship does take work and effort. It is nice to both care enough to keep working at it and compromise. To be fair and caring with each other. It makes the taking care of me part much easier!
The moral of this story is...do what is good for you. Pick you! That is when you will have truly changed your life for the better and you will reach your goals.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOTABOUTHEFACE 2/1/2011 2:42PM

    Sorry you guys had a fight but GOOD FOR YOU for putting your health and your journey first. It's definitely a sign of change for the better!

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WORKINGSTIFF 2/1/2011 2:40PM

    Working out can be the best medicine for anger or other emotions. Something major becomes not so major. New ideas pop up where they never were before.

Working out can work off a good head of steam.

Nobody likes fighting (or if they do, they got issues!). Wherever more than 1 person is involved there are bound to be conflicts-that's life. Dealing with them in a constructive manner is the important thing.

Always remember that you are not responsible for the other person's happiness. We each have to get to that on our own with one another's help.

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AGALAVIZ 2/1/2011 11:35AM

    Awesome!!! I love your positive attitude!! And I can relate to you with the fighting piece..I hate fighting and as you read my blogs I am sure you could relate. I am so proud of you..makes me want to jump outta bed and get to the gym as well. However, I have a couple of weeks to go with my foot up in the air!! boo! Once I get back on track I would love to connect more as a workout buddy!! Have a super day and great job!

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MAY1787 2/1/2011 11:15AM

    I love your blogs. They are so full of wisdom and self-reflection. Pick you!

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MUSTANGMISSY 2/1/2011 10:40AM

    That's awesome! A great way to take a breather and step back too. Sometimes when hubby and I fight I jump on the treadmill or take the dog for a walk and the time away really helps put things back into perspective. Keep it up, girl!

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JAB0929 2/1/2011 10:08AM

    Great Job! It's these changes in emotional and mental behavior that make the difference! I am proud of you! emoticon

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APMAC_D 2/1/2011 10:02AM

    This is great, it really speaks to me. You have made great positive changes. I am glad you fight fair and know when to be there for one another.

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 2/1/2011 7:50AM

    I'm so happy to read this, not for your pain, but for your growth and insight. You are amazing.

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KATHLOW 2/1/2011 5:50AM

    such a big step. I can never stay mad, but i'm glad at that. Life's too short to hold grudges whan you could be working out, amirite?

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MISSSTONE 2/1/2011 1:49AM

    I love this blog, sounds like you are on to something. I to hate arguments and tend to react badly to them. I think I will give your technique a try..

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TEACHDIANN78 2/1/2011 1:45AM

    Awesome!! It's so hard to make that step especially when you're angry. You did great!

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NANHBH 1/31/2011 11:02PM

    Ash,

That is really BIG to put your needs first! Such amazing personal growth you are having! It's awesome to see it in you!

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WHOVIANPRINCESS 1/31/2011 10:33PM

    This is a really great blog. It is awesome when we really start to see the changes we are making in our lives, outside of our physical health. Emotional and mental strength is just as important!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/31/2011 10:24PM

    Good for you! Glad your day turned out okay. =)

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MAMADWARF 1/31/2011 9:57PM

    That is soo awesome, Ashley! Hooray for you. I am so proud of the two of you for picking such great partners who are both willing to work on things. It really does take 2. But first it takes you and you are doing great!

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PELESJEWEL 1/31/2011 9:04PM

    emoticon Working out promotes clearer thoughts, a sense of calm & confidence! You made the perfect choice!

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DUSTYGIRL25 1/31/2011 8:21PM

    Good for you! I do believe that putting ourselves first in that situation is a hard thing for most of us to do.
So good for you for going and exercising and making yourself feel better first, then going home and working on the problem.

Good lesson for everyone.

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BRANDI.FEY 1/31/2011 7:53PM

    Good for you!

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AMOHAME2 1/31/2011 7:35PM

    Great blog! When you're upset it's so hard to get a workout in, but sometimes it's just the thing you need to clear your head and confront whatever is upsetting you. I'm glad you managed to work through your anger and resolve things with your fiance!!

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LUCKYDOGFARM 1/31/2011 5:58PM

    Yay Ashley! that is such an accomplishment, to be able to choose yourself! keep up the GREAT work!!

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CARILOUIE 1/31/2011 5:48PM

    This is awesome. I'm glad to hear you resolved everything AND got in a workout!

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CALIKIKI 1/31/2011 5:32PM

    Amazing progress on you AND your relationship! So proud of you!

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STEPPYSUE 1/31/2011 4:40PM

    You may just be DONE!!!!!!!!!
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DIANA_IS_BACK 1/31/2011 4:33PM

    I love this blog!
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Diana

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VITASANA 1/31/2011 4:24PM

    I love that, "pick you."

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GRACEISENUF 1/31/2011 4:22PM

    Good advice. Hubs and I have been "working at it 21 year".
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I am doing this because this is the person I want to be

Friday, January 28, 2011

It really isn't much simpler that that statement. I want to be strong, focused, confident, athletic, toned and healthy. Focusing on the negative things you don't like is easy but to put into words WHY you want to lose weight and get healthy is harder. There is no magic place that will make you happy. I talk to so many people who believe weight is the only reason they are miserable, have few friends, no love life but I see many overweight people in happy love matches so that can't be true. Being happy is something inside you that you have to find. A boyfriend can't give you self esteem. Believe me, I tried that. It doesn't work. Self acceptance is when you stop looking at all the things you dislike about yourself and it spurs you to change them. To make yourself better. When I complete a work out or eat foods that are good for me. That is what makes me feel good about me. That I set a plan in motion and I executed it. Plain and simple. Do I have to be perfect? NO. But if I gave it my all and worked really hard than I can never fail. Lying to myself about why I overeat and skipped a workout. That is what chips away at self esteem. Because it is that simple. It is a lie and you know it is a lie and it makes you feel bad. You let down yourself and you let down people in your life that try and support you. I don't believe in "cheat days" because that implies that foods are intrinsically bad and something that you have to sneak around to enjoy. That idea couldn't be farther from the truth. When you work hard and take care of yourself planned indulgences are a healthy part of life. I don't want to live in a world without some chocolate goodies in it now and then.
Sitting down and taking an honest look at myself was the hardest part of this entire process. It is painful to admit sometimes ways that you behave are less than flattering. Hiding and sneaking food creates shame and embarrassment. It is one of the big reasons I was unsuccessful in the past. I was unwilling to look at the emotional root of why I had those behaviors. My mother worked 3 jobs when I was a kid and so I took care of my brother and myself. Being so young I just fed us whatever we liked without true regard for balance or nutrition. The more we were alone the more we would eat out of control. It became comfort. When she was home she cooked healthy meals and I can remember her asking my father what he fed us for dinner and he didn't even know what we ate. Most of it came out of a box or the freezer.
The person I want to be now is someone who eats and enjoys food for its value. Who doesn't eat away emotions but process them in a healthy way. A person who finds pleasure in a good workout and being active for the joy I get, not because I see it as a way to be thin. To have a body that is strong and healthy and have that be my ultimate goal rather than just a specific number or pants size. To be able to look in the mirror and not just be pleased with my aesthetics but also RESPECT the person who looks back at me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELLYBEANS0919 2/1/2011 1:05PM

    Wise words.

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MAY1787 2/1/2011 11:13AM

    "It is a lie and you know it is a lie and it makes you feel bad. You let down yourself and you let down people in your life that try and support you."

Lying to ourselves is terrible. Its enough that other people can lie to us, but lying to ourselves is like self-abuse akin to cutting or self-imposed starvation. We wouldn't want other people to do it to us, so why do we insist on doing it to ourselves?

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KATHLOW 1/31/2011 9:11AM

    hmm. *goes and takes long hard look at self now*.

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DBFBILLY 1/30/2011 8:48AM

    Loved the blog...i've been working on self-acceptance and it's hard..especially when my EX, (let me repeat..EX!!) boyfriend would play mind games and focus on your insecurites.., and deny when he did it...i was such an emotional wreck..that I had to walk way..VERY hard for me to do for many reasons, but did it and am GLAD I am a DONE GIRL emoticon emoticon emoticon

And, it's been getting me thinking about why i never pursued running/jogging...Ex took me out a few times, and, since was used to be a Marine, (which attracted me to him in the beginning) and when we got done, i was like one of the people gasping for air and felt like i was going to be sick.. emoticon and it wasn't enjoyable to me.....but since being on Spark., and going at my own pace., and doing what I WANT TO DO, it's much, much better....I jog for .25 then walk for .25...not much, but it's a start for me....Now, if ex-Marine was still in my life, I'd hear: Well, that's not really going to do anything for you" and i'd stop...so it was comments like that constantly that made me not to want to "move" anymore because i felt nothing was good enough unless you were moving like a *****ing tornado!!

Sooo, loved the blog....have a Super Sunday emoticon

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BELLALUCIA 1/29/2011 11:26PM

    Great sentiments my dear!

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 1/29/2011 7:03PM

    Amen!

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LUCKYDOGFARM 1/29/2011 5:47AM

    Ashley, i love this "A boyfriend can't give you self esteem" Nothing could be more true! that is why it is called SELF Esteem! WooHOO! You got it, hit the nail on the head. I just had that talk with a person the other day.
I am SO glad that you know YOU are Worth The Work!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/28/2011 10:06PM

    You go girl! It sounds like you are doing an excellent job re-parenting yourself. And it's very cool that you enjoy working out!

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HEALTHYONE2008 1/28/2011 8:39PM

    emoticon emoticon
Like LEANNROCKS said-rub some of that spirit off on me!

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LEANNROCKS 1/28/2011 5:19PM

    Super Blog! Hope more of this rubs off on me!

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BTRTHANEVA 1/28/2011 5:00PM

    You are wise beyond your years. Excellent blog, Ashley!

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RIGBY31 1/28/2011 4:27PM

    Self respect, achievement ... I love that feeling at the end of the day more than anything.

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NANHBH 1/28/2011 12:39PM

    Totally awesome blog, Ash! Gimme a little of that respect!

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MAIA2011 1/28/2011 12:33PM

    You have captured the zeitgeist again with this one. I like how you are honest about your reasons but you stay on task of doing this for you and your health and your own respect. Consistency and planning and reconciling the difference between what you THINK your priorities are versus what your actions SHOW your priorities really are is what you are doing.

It's a struggle but not all of us can express it the way you do!

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JENN26POINT2 1/28/2011 12:33PM

    Great blog!

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KATFOSTER11 1/28/2011 12:29PM

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your blogs! You are doing fantastic and help keep me inspired.

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CYNDERROSE 1/28/2011 11:51AM

    Awesome! Thank you, I needed something like this today. emoticon

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LILMISSRED79 1/28/2011 11:50AM

    Awesome blog! Very honest and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

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MAMADWARF 1/28/2011 11:28AM

    GREAT BLOG, Ashley. Soo true and I totally agree. Im with ya, sister!

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SUZYGREENBERG94 1/28/2011 11:27AM

    Once again, hitting the nail on the head....are you sure you're in the right industry? I'm thinking motivational speaker or therapist would be a great route for you, I read so many comments by other members who say you're writing exactly wheat they're thinking/feeling. Like, you're dialed into to our general stream of consciousness!

Have a great weekend, spark on!

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WILLIAMV3 1/28/2011 11:04AM

    I totally agree. Way to go! emoticon

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SHELLEY147 1/28/2011 10:54AM

    Great blog Ashley!

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LISSIEONE 1/28/2011 10:18AM

    Great attitude! A healthier you is a happier you! :) Spark on!

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TERRYT55 1/28/2011 10:16AM

    Another great blog, Ashley. I want to know how you manage to write so many of the words that are in my mind. You write so well!

In the past I always thought that when I lost weight all of my problems would magically be solved. Not true. I am within 30 pounds of my goal weight now and I am so much happier; because my attitude has changed my life has changed. It's the way I react to life not the other way around. I love myself now and that makes it so much easier to love everyone and everything around me.

I don't have cheat days either.........if an opportunity to eat a little something outside my plan presents itself and I want a taste I have one.

I especially love your last paragraph.........that is what this my journey is about.

Thank you for taking the time to blog.........you so often write what is in my heart and mind.

Take care and have a great weekend.

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4MEYEHEALTH 1/28/2011 10:10AM

    Awesome! Thanks!!!

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CARMINACG 1/28/2011 10:04AM

    Awesome blog! Keep making the right choices for you and your health!

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When the scale stalls, don't forget how far you have come!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I have been feeling badly about being stuck at this weight for awhile. When you are stagnant you start to find your flaws again and the negative self talk starts to creep into your psyche. At the beginning of SP I was losing weight so quickly that each and every day was a new discovery for me. I still remember feeling my hip bone sticking out and panicking because I thought it was a lump. The joy of seeing my rib cage again, the loss of my double chin, collar bones. Each and every NS victory kept me going. Then it stopped. I started to notice how saggy this place was and how my saddle bags looked more pronounced. Blah blah. I am not going to go there and list all of neurosis because that is giving them power. You get my point.
Sunday I made my triumphant return to the gym and the elliptical queen has retaken her thrown. I added back in my abs and back routine and it is funny but I SWEAR I already look like I lost a size. When you combine the clean eating with the working out. I look smokin and skinny. In fact, a guy at work today told he was surprised I drink so much water. I said "well I used to be really fat and this is part of how I am not now" (there is no sugar coating in Ashley's world) He looked shocked and said "but you are so skinny now I can't believe it." Honestly, I wanted to kiss him right there. He used the S word.
It got me thinking about the old me. The person who got winded at the mall. Couldn't even walk up the stairs to my apartment. Who could barely sleep at night I was in so much pain. I forgot her to cope but I need to remember her a little so I can be proud of myself for how far I have come. I barely look at before pics these days and I need to sometimes. I showed a few people at work and they couldn't believe it was me. It isn't just how different I was on the outside but for me it is how I have changed on the inside. Loving myself, is the most valuable thing I have ever learned and it is how I am successful. So, I say to all of you. When the going gets tough, and it will, remember how far you have come and how you are never going back. This life is too awesome to give up. My goal is so close. I am almost half way there!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBFBILLY 1/30/2011 8:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 1/29/2011 5:51AM

    Go Ashley, Go! You are spreading the Spark, You Skinny Healthy Girl!!

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GREENSCRAPCAT 1/28/2011 12:21PM

    OMG Thanks for this post! I so needed this right now!

Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration to us all!

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BELLALUCIA 1/27/2011 1:28PM

    Good work dear!

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APMAC_D 1/27/2011 10:12AM

    I am going to reflect on my journey too! Thank you, you are amazing

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NANHBH 1/26/2011 4:59PM

    ASHLEY POWER! Wow, thanks for that pep talk. I needed that!
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46SHADOW 1/26/2011 11:34AM

    love it!...and i can really relate to all of it.

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GRAMMY441 1/26/2011 11:30AM

    great blog.Love it.

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WHOVIANPRINCESS 1/26/2011 11:22AM

    this is an extremely intuitive blog, thank you!

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FALISAMARIE1 1/26/2011 11:22AM

    Great blog and great motivation!!!

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AMOHAME2 1/26/2011 11:18AM

    You said it!

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CHEF4RENT 1/26/2011 10:41AM

    Right on Ashley I so needed this today.

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BRIAEL 1/26/2011 10:18AM

    That's the joy of blogging and having before and after pictures available. When I have a "fat" day in my head, I simply review the facts of loss to reassure myself that I'm not dreaming and still a chub! :)

Lovely to hear that you're getting compliments, and I'm looking forward to the day when you have enough confidence to feel comfortable with the less-than-perfect physical reflection that we all hope/aim for. :)

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BOOKWORM27S 1/26/2011 9:40AM

    emoticon emoticon
Very true... it is so easy to forget how far we have all come when the scale refuses to budge. It is amazing how quickly the negativity can take over.

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KATHLOW 1/26/2011 7:28AM

    long live the queen :-)

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RIGBY31 1/25/2011 11:17PM

    Good thoughts to remember. And good for you for getting back to the gym!

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GO-LOEW 1/25/2011 11:08PM

    Great blog Ashley! Since I didn't get the weight off my body when I was younger, I am now rejoicing when I sag. Why, you ask? Because that means there is no fat underneath the skin to keep it plumped up. I figure I can stuff the sag in my jeans, and only I know it is there. I can tighten the bra straps, and use the sag as lovely breasts.

I seriously understand people's concern about sagging, but I am not going to let that stop my success at being healthy and thinner. I told my husband to say good-bye to any plump parts he might like because they are probably going south!

I am proud of you for deciding to not worry about the slowness of your weight loss and get back at it! You will succeed.

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MAMADWARF 1/25/2011 10:37PM

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 1/25/2011 10:22PM

    You're amazing. I can't even remember how many times you've written exactly what I need to read. Thanks again.

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SARAHNICOLE__17 1/25/2011 9:46PM

    You have given me a lot to think about.

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PELESJEWEL 1/25/2011 9:35PM

    emoticon All Hail the QUEEN of the Eliptical!! Love it!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/25/2011 8:17PM

    Great blog!! My scale has been moving ever so slowly, since I started here. But it does move, so I should be very grateful for that. Without the SP nutrition tracker, or exercising at all, I would probably still be gaining weight. I'm a little worried though, because I've discovered that on my scale, you are a different weight, depending on where you stand. So I'm much lighter if my feet are at the farthest from where the numbers are. I guess I'll have to draw a little line on it somewhere, so that I don't feel tempted to cheat.
P.S. Nordstrom has someone that can alter your clothes, whether you bought them there or not. It just costs money if you didn't buy the garment there. Maybe they could help you make your clothes fit better.

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TERRYT55 1/25/2011 6:31PM

    I feel like I could have written this blog today BUT you do it so much better! My weight loss has been at a standstill since early this month and I just seem to look more saggy everyday.

I am not giving up, ever. I feel so good and have so much energy and that is what keeps me moving and ignoring the scale when it seems to never change! I know given time the numbers will move down. Even though the NS victories are fewer and the pounds are coming off more slowly I still see them.....like today. My shadow looked so small as I was jogging to the mailbox! That's two NS victories in one day, I just had to look for them!

Love your blogs, Ashley. I always walk away with a smile and something to think about.

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HOLLYS_NEW_LIFE 1/25/2011 6:29PM

    Thanks Ashley, we all need to rememebr how far we've come. You're doing such a great job, glad you're back to your self!

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MAIA2011 1/25/2011 6:25PM

    emoticon

I'm not worthy to bow before the Queen of the Elliptical.

Thanks for telling it like it is!

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MINENA1 1/25/2011 6:16PM

    AMEN!! Thank you for sharing this blog. I know exactly what you mean. I wrote a blog similar, but yours is better said. LOL. Congrats on your skinny-self! WOOT WOOT!! emoticon

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CONNIE2POINT0 1/25/2011 6:11PM

    Skinny! Your new nick-name!
Besides, "your highness the elliptical queen"
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JENRYAN9278 1/25/2011 6:08PM

    emoticon emoticon For sharing!!!!

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TRIP2HAPPINESS 1/25/2011 6:07PM

    Great blog once again Ash! Every blog you write makes me feel like your in my head or something! :) Keep up that attitude, it's gonna get you even further Ms. Skinny! :)

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RACINGSLUG 1/25/2011 6:04PM

    Amazing! I really needed this. I have been struggling to break through my own plateau and it's always good to take stock of how much things have changed. Keep up the great work!

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GIRANIMAL 1/25/2011 5:59PM

    Rock on, girl! I had to pull this trick out myself recently. It is so easy to start noticing all the "imperfections" and be fooled by your negative self-talk once a long plateau sets in. But we have come a long way! We've earned the right to be proud. And there's no going back now!

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KIBAISREADY 1/25/2011 5:51PM

    Well said.... Thanks for sharing I really needed to hear this...... Congrats on your success.. Cheers to You! emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 1/25/2011 5:50PM

    "I look smokin and skinny." You go girl!

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FLY0NTHEWAL1 1/25/2011 5:47PM

    You're doing such a good job. Whenever I get down I click over to your page and I see if you've written something new. You're so honest and raw with your experience- it reminds me that it's ok if I'm not 100% feeling it right now, as long as I keep DOING something towards my goals I'll get there (eventually).
I'm glad you got to hear someone call you "skinny". It's such a motivator when people notice, even when they don't know where you've come from. Two thumbs up to you, I'm happy to see you're succeeding. : )

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BTRTHANEVA 1/25/2011 5:20PM

    Don't EVER forget where you came from. Whether it be weight or life - you've grown (and shrunk)as a person. Kudos for realizing the truth and not giving in to the negativity. emoticon

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WILLIAMV3 1/25/2011 5:08PM

    emoticon

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SUZYGREENBERG94 1/25/2011 5:01PM

    KEEP. ON. TRUCKIN. Yes ma'am. Will do. Great blog, once again.

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BROOKDOESLIFE 1/25/2011 4:56PM

    Wow, I really needed to hear this. Thanks for blogging about this!!!
You are awesome! I know it feels so great to hear the S word. Keep up the great work.

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HLTHYETER 1/25/2011 4:52PM

    Great blog Ashley. It resonates very deeply with me--I got back to the gym today after a long break because of weather, work, etc. and it felt great. I know I have been reflecting a lot on my changed life while working through a plateau and it does help me keep going.

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KARLYNCANDOIT 1/25/2011 4:50PM

    emoticon I too am going through this~~ We keep chugging!! It works!!

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COOKWITHME65 1/25/2011 4:50PM

    Keep it going AShley. Congrats on the jeans thing.

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Diet and Fitness: I want to vs I have/need to

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Today was the day I broke my exercise drought. FINALLY. I talked about it on here, I talked about it at home. Last night I was talking about it again and my fiancÚ stood in front of me and looked me in the eyes and said "Honey, enough, you can do this. Stop telling yourself you can't because we both know you can. Now do it." He is not usually this verbal. Generally he is a pretty quiet guy and the directness and frankness of his words surprised and quite honestly impressed me. He is right. Enough excuses, just go. So this afternoon I packed my gym bag and drove him to work and then headed off to the gym. I managed to get myself so worked up I gave myself an anxiety attack in the car. It has been years since I had one and this one was bad enough it felt like I was dying and I just kept going. I knew what it was and what it was about and although it is horrible to experience I refused to let it beat me. I pulled into the parking lot and sat outside the gym thinking of reasons not to go in even playing solitaire on my phone. Not one of my finest moments. Then I just went in. As soon as I was in the locker room the anxiety stopped and the athlete came out and I was ashamed I had let myself behave so ridiculously. I missed the feeling of the gym so much and the adrenaline and excitement took over. As soon as I hopped on the elliptical I was off and all the endorphins kicked and I totally over did it. Apparently I thought I was still in good shape and I worked myself until I almost threw up. When I got to that point I got on a bike and did intervals and then an extra long cool down until I didn't feel sick anymore. I did abs and back work for my ST and my abs hurt so much right now it hurts to laugh but its a good hurt. I am so proud of myself I could burst.
This whole experience got me thinking about the idea of I want to vs I have to. I think that is the big key to this whole experience essentially. PELESJEWEL left me a comment that really hit me hard when she said that for some people the exercise part of this is easy but they struggle with the food and others like me have an easier time with the eating and a harder time staying motivated to workout. IT IS SO TRUE. The diet part of this for me is honestly pretty easy. When I read about people who list their food for the day as something to the effect of low fat cinnamon rolls for breakfast, a lean cuisine for lunch and takeout for dinner it really freaks me out. I just choose to eat as little processed food as possible because it is just healthier and it isn't hard. I just don't buy it. I measure and weigh everything. When I gave up soda I never thought about it again and it isn't even a consideration. Now please don't think I am looking down on people for eating processed or drinking soda. I think we all make our own decisions and what works for me doesn't work for everyone else. The point I am making is that mental part of what I eat was the easier thing to tackle because I WANT TO. I actually enjoy healthy food and healthy cooking and I get personal enjoyment out of seeking out new cooking methods and foods I haven't tried. It is a hobby.
Unfortunately for most of my life I treated working out as a I HAVE/NEED TO kind of thing. By doing so I stripped any and all possible enjoyment of it. I played sports because I was good at them and my family wanted me to but the training part of it I saw as a necessary evil. I never engaged the workouts as much as I could have. When others on the team would be wanting to do more conditioning I would look at them like they were crazy. Now, I wish I had back those moments of bootcamp and having team mates to push me. The most success I have had in the past regarding losing weight have been the times when I worked out for me and did it because I liked it. I looked forward to it. Just 2 months ago I was in that place again. I felt strong, powerful and in control. My moods were more even and I woke up feeling great every day.
As I sit here right now I am coming down off that work out high (you know what I am talking about) and I want this feeling again tomorrow. This is it, I found my happy place again and boy did I miss it. Tomorrow I am working out not because I have to but because I want to.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELLYBEANS0919 2/1/2011 1:02PM

    Excellent blog, as always :-) I liked your statement that people struggle with different things. For me eating healthy is super hard. I crave cinnamon rolls, cakes, etc. But I have found now not having them in the house is a big big help! If it is there, I eat it. Awesome you enjoy cooking healthy!

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LUCKYDOGFARM 1/29/2011 5:59AM

    Excellent Blog Ashley!
i exercise so that i can eat. will run for Chocolate! i hate cooking, but love eating (in moderation!), so now i exercise so that i can enjoy some of the yummy goodness without the guilt and gain!

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JESSIEJUICE 1/27/2011 5:56PM

    I loved reading this! You inspired me to push through my gym anxiety because I know it's worth it in the end!

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AUNTIELES53 1/25/2011 9:58AM

    great job :) loved this blog.

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BADASSBLONDIE 1/24/2011 6:00PM

    Turning working out from a have to to a want to was probably a 3 or 4 month struggle for me, but 100% worth it. I freaking LOVE working out now!

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SCHENPOSSIBLE 1/24/2011 5:39PM

    That feeling return is so awesome. You've hit the nail on the head. Cheers to you!

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COOKWITHME65 1/24/2011 12:59PM

    Good for you. Keep it going!

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KRAWRS 1/24/2011 12:24PM

    I'm not better at one or the other (working out vs. eating right), but I do have an easier time planning healthy meals vs. exercising my tushy off! Glad you were able to push through the drought and get back at it!

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MAIA2011 1/24/2011 10:48AM

    I used to be the opposite as far as working out/diet but it was insensible exercise because I didn't have a car and I walked everywhere and rode my bike to get places. Between that and being young it was easy to maintain a healthy weight. Now, I am learning what I should be doing nutrition-wise in terms of calories and sometimes it seems like one more thing to feel guilty about. Intellectually, I want unprocessed, organic, local, farmer's market, raw, bulk, non-cruel nourishment but when my inner child goes shopping such as these days I want cheese and any accompanying vehicle to get it to my tummy. That's it.

Nice job getting to the gym! I love that you admit to your anxiety and also I love that your fiance helped prod you along. Yay for you two!

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MAMADWARF 1/24/2011 10:37AM

    yeah! You're BAAAACKKK!

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ALOFA0509 1/24/2011 7:48AM

   
Whoo-Hoo!! Awsum break thru emoticon.. I recently joined and somehow became a "Leader" for the Hungry girl team.. The recipes are GR8, but soo much of it is quick processed food with a twist.. I've found ways to make a lot of the meals with REAL FOOD and love it-- Processed food just dosent sit well with me either.. I'm lovin that your back on the Elliptical and rockin it sista.. Hugs 2U!!

Cheers,
Alofa

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DUSTYGIRL25 1/24/2011 1:36AM

    I'm with you, I'm great at sticking with the staying within the calorie range plan. No problem. I have real trouble with working out and exercising. Some has to do with my health problems, but I'm trying to put excuses behind me.
All your feelings are real and I'm sure we can all relate.
Thanks for putting it out there. emoticon

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BRIAEL 1/23/2011 11:14PM

    Wow, Ashley, that is awesome. I love that your fiance has motivated you into doing something that was holding you back. I love that you went to the gym and had a good time! :)

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SELKIE2283 1/23/2011 9:19PM

    So true about "want to/have to!" I think success at weight loss is about 90% mental. There are a hundred different ways to eat healthier, and a hundred different ways to get fit, but getting past the mental blocks to do any one of those hundreds of things is what seems to hold people back.

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PELESJEWEL 1/23/2011 9:00PM

    YESS!!! I am so proud of you! Your BF loves you so he used his "direct" voice to spark your flame. (Those that love deeply are spark conduits!) Let your inner athlete take charge, she loves sweat, she loves crunches, she's competitive and she always wins at exercise. Clear your mind, give your inner athlete a larger piece of real estate in your melon! Exercise = Inner Warrior.

Btw - you will be unstoppable, because you do have the food aspect well handled, especially your cooking, measuring, planning. That's huge! I agree 100%, processed foods may be convenient, but doesn't feed the inner athlete the nutrients she needs! You GOT THIS!!

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HANNAH_CALM 1/23/2011 8:59PM

    Hooray!!!

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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 1/23/2011 6:54PM

    I'm one of those people opposite of you. I generally eat well, but food still is and always will be a struggle for me. On weekends I tend to be lax, and then I play catch-up all week.

However, I CRAVE working out. I live for it. The feeling of accomplishment, pushing myself farther each session, creating goals, oh how I LOVE it. It is therapeutic for me.

That said, great job on going back in there! And now that you remember how wonderful it feels, don't let that feeling go! Embrace it, and live for it!

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SARAHNICOLE__17 1/23/2011 6:26PM

    I am so happy right now. It sounds like my bf and your hubby have a lot in common. My bf is very soft spoken. Sometimes the message just sticks if the right person delivers it. I'm doing a happy dance right now. All I want is for you to be happy. And I'm soooooooo thankful you have such an amazing other half that isn't afraid to tell you what you need to hear. Please give him a big hug from me. He's mighty special!

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DYA177 1/23/2011 6:12PM

    I totally understand what you are talking about. Although MY problem is the other way around, I love to exercise and hate to eat right, I do it because I want to. I want to pick fresh veggies and unprocessed food. Because I want it bad it enough. I want to lose weight and feel good more than that donut. Thanks for sharing your struggles which I'm sure many people has.

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TRIP2HAPPINESS 1/23/2011 6:07PM

    Awesome! Glad to hear your back in your groove again. Unstoppable Ash! :)

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NANHBH 1/23/2011 5:51PM

    Ash,

You GO, Girlfriend! I'm so proud of you. The brain has a crazy "push back" when we tell it we "have to" or "need to." The brain says, "No, I don't." So, when we tell ourself we "like to", "choose to", or "want to", the brain is more cooperative. When I find myself saying I "have to" or 'need to" do something, I just change that wording slightly to make my brain go along with it!

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RIVERDLC 1/23/2011 5:43PM

    Ashley you are such a great motivator. Thanks for sharing your struggles. I have just recently gotten back to working out. I hated the way I felt when I wasn't. I have lost only 20 lbs but I feel the difference. You can do this!!!!

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CARILOUIE 1/23/2011 5:37PM

    Getting back into working out after a break is tough for me. I seem to find more reasons not to go than ever! But I also know the workout high, and it's a great feeling. You will be back in top form in no time.



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RIVERDLC 1/23/2011 5:37PM

    Ashley you are such a great motivator. Thanks for sharing your struggles. I have just recently gotten back to working out. I hated the way I felt when I wasn't. I have lost only 20 lbs but I feel the difference. You can do this!!!!

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