Wednesday, January 09, 2013
A few days ago, I was working out with some AMAZING women I've been blessed to meet at my gym through my trainer, Sarah. And I have to admit... it is such a blessing to laugh at ourselves in an environment filled with love, support, and understanding.
Now, I met Sarah a year ago. I had already successfully lost a significant amount of weight, but was gaining it back at a rapid pace. And I had NEVER tried to incorporate fitness into my life. Diet, yes. Fitness, never. So my husband and I decided we would join a gym. I'd never been to a gym before and was TERRIFIED of it. My hubby was working, so I drove myself down there to join. And had a full blown panic attack in the parking lot. After the cold sweats and hyperventilating eased, I went inside and joined. The membership guy told me that hubby and I each got a "free session" with a trainer with our membership, and did I want a male or female? I told him I didn't care.
That evening, Hubby and I went back. I climbed onto the elliptical machine, thinking "How hard can it be?" I started pedaling.... then things just got jumbled up, and my un-graceful self literally fell off. Onto the carpet. In front of everyone. (Not one of my prouder moments). The membership guy I'd spoken with earlier came running out of his glass-enclosed office to ensure I was okay. He smiled and said, "I think Sarah would be the perfect trainer for you". Truer words were never spoken.
Sarah is the first person in my life who I've ever met and felt ZERO judgement from. Not even for a moment. She accepted my 310#, un-coordinated, un-athletic self completely. Instead, she just set about educating me. Teaching me how to use the equipment. Teaching me about my body and nutrition. Teaching me the basic math of weight loss and gain. And somewhere in the past year, we stopped being teacher/student and began being friends. When I ran my first race (a 1 mile fun run) last June, she ran beside me. When I had my miscarriage in August, she was the first person I texted after my husband. She is my biggest cheerleader while constantly pushing me to the next level. I think every single person should have a Sarah.
So anyway..... there I was in the gravity gym with a motley group Sarah has put together, grunting and groaning as she pushes us out of our comfort zones. We were talking about medical issues one of the ladies is experiencing and how it may be impacting her weight gain/loss. And I blurt out... "All my life I kept wishing for a thyroid problem. But darn it! My thyroid is perfect!"
And we all burst out laughing. Because it was so true. And so understood by this incredible group of women. We had all been there in our lives... actually wishing for a medical issue that would explain our weight issues. And for some people, it is true. For some people, there are medical complications. But for so many of us (particularly for me), it is not. I have endured some serious medical issues, and know the frustration and fear that comes with them. And my comment was rather flippant and probably disrespectful to those that do struggle with thyroid problems (although not meant that way!).
But for ME, it is another confrontation of the truth: My body is not broken. My mind was. For YEARS, I lamented, "I will do ANYTHING to lose this weight". Really, Judy Lynn? Anything? Will you consistently eat right? Will you stop the binge eating? Will you get off the couch and get active? Will you look your emotional demons in the eye and deal with them?
No. Those things I wasn't ready to do. My body wasn't the problem. It was the side-effect of the problem. My wounds weren't a problematic thyroid or gland issue. My wounds were emotional, and truer and deeper than anyone could have imagined.
Does my body have issues? Yes. Do I struggle to overcome things that are counter productive to weight loss? Yes. I've been struggling with PCOS since I was a young teenager, so I know how frustrating things like that can be. But I guess I'm ready to take responsibility for my weight, and the damage that I have done to my body. My PCOS is to blame for a lot of things.... but binge eating emotionally is not one of them.
I may be uncoordinated. I may be unathletic. I may be almost 39, and 80+# overweight still. But I am also capable. And I am determined. And I am worthy. Just as I am.
So with that thought..... I'm off to the gym! Look out elliptical! I'm no longer scared of you.
Monday, January 07, 2013
I have read and re-read my last blog entry several times. I find it amazing that this particular blog post received so much feedback, because it was an uncomfortable post to put out there. It was an acknowledgment of something I've been avoiding and denying for far too long.
For the past year, I have had my ticker set for my CURRENT weight loss (past years worth). When people asked me how much weight I'd lost, I'd proudly tell them the number of pounds I'd lost in 2012. At each 10# accomplishment, I'd post a picture stating that I'd lost that amount. Why is this significant? Because there was another 110# that had been lost. Another 110# of history that I was pretending didn't exist. I find that peculiar now that I think about it.
As I read and re-read yesterday's blog, and noticed my verbiage in conversations with friends today, I realize that when I think/talk about the time in my life that my weight spiraled to over 400#, I don't talk about it in the first person. I say "that girl", or "she". Never "me", or "I". I am separating myself from the person that I was. Separating myself from the place of self-loathing, sadness, and hopelessness. And in a way, it is separate. I have worked very hard for over a decade to fight my way out of that. HOWEVER! Something is screaming at me loud and clear today.
I hated myself 11 years ago. I hated what I had allowed to happen to my body. I hated the way I looked and moved. I hated the clothes I wore, and the way people stared at me in public. I hated that I didn't fit in normal furniture, and I hated how many pieces of furniture met their demise under the weight of my girth. I hated how I binged in private, as though the secret didn't show in every pound I wore. I hated myself for being weak. I hated myself for not being smart enough to find a solution. I hated myself. And worse..... I believed that because I hated myself, there was nothing lovable about me. I expected others to hate me, too.
Flash forward 11 years, and I realize that in order to get to my goal weight, I must learn to show love to myself NOW! Today! I must love myself enough to take care of myself. You destroy the things you hate. You build up the things you love. So was it any wonder that my hatred for myself continued to destroy me?
Oh, how I wish I could go back and talk to my 420#, 27 year old self! What a different experience I may have had.
I would want this girl to stand proud! She is a survivor! No one else knows the path she has taken. The fire that God asked her to walk through. And she deserves to feel proud and worthy. I would love to tell her that her worth is not measured on the scale, but rather by her heart. I would tell her to try and see herself for just a moment as God sees her..... valuable beyond measure, created with unique gifts and talents, possessing an ability to love and heal people. I would tell her that this God-given gift she has of accepting people just as they are, in their darkest hour, is more than a career.... it's her path out of the dark. It's her ticket to freedom! But she must turn that grace on herself that she so effortlessly gives to others. I would tell her that one day she would have a daughter who believes she can do anything, and that she likely hung the moon and sets the sun to rise each morning.
And you know the coolest thing? I CAN talk to that girl. Because I am that girl. And her hurts and worries are still carried in my heart. Those old insecurities still sneak out and mess with my mind now and then. So I may try to separate myself from that time because in truth, I am ashamed of it. But I can't. It is a part of my journey. It is a part of who I am. It is a piece of what I've overcome.
So you will see that my ticker now reflects my total weight loss of 180#. In my own little way, it's a means of acceptance.
This is a picture of me about 11 years ago.
This is a picture of me last month. (No, that is NOT a color I chose for my house! I was helping paint a sunday school room for our new church)
Guess what? I am no more worthy of love in the second picture than I am in the first. I may be thinner. I may have become more successful in reaching my weight loss goals. I may be happier with my life circumstances. But I am no more worthy of love and respect.
My point? I am forgiving "that" girl, and deciding to love her now. I'm sorry that I couldn't love her more at the time. And if you're reading this, and you feel like you can't get out of that pit, or feel like you aren't worthy of love, please, PLEASE reconsider. You are so unique and special. You are so worthy of love. And you deserve to meet your goals. You deserve to be healthy and enjoy life.
You deserve it all.
We all do.
Sunday, January 06, 2013
"I am not trying to be a super model".
I have said this so many times lately. In response to people's questions about my weight loss goals. In response to my physician's inquiry about why I want my excess skin removed from my tummy area.
Nope. I'm not trying to be a super model. It was never in the cards, and never a part of my aspirations.
11 years ago, this was me:
Behind that smile was more self loathing and hatred than any one person should ever tolerate. That girl prayed at night that she would die. That girl was miserable. That girl had ALMOST given up. ALMOST.
'Almost' has to be one of the most important words in the English language. It expresses the difference between what is/was and what COULD have been. That girl ALMOST ate herself to death. That girl ALMOST allowed her weight and food addiction to keep her from every good thing life has to offer. ALMOST.
But she didn't.
So why do I do this? I am doing this because I fought my way out of that place for a reason. I fought my way to this place:
There is no self-loathing behind that smile. There is joy. My life has so much meaning, so much joy. Blessings that I couldn't have dreamed of 11 years ago. And I know that if I stick to it, it can only get better. I can only get stronger. I can only be a stronger role model for my beautiful, priceless daughter. If I do this, she will grow up saying "I can" rather than "I can't". I do this so that I can be the mom playing on the floor with my girl, rather than the woman who prays to die. I do this so that I can see beyond self-loathing to the beautiful blessings that God has showered on me. I do this to honor the God who created and loves me.
Nope.... being a super model has nothing to do with this. I am doing this for me. And because I NEVER want to go back to that dark, sad, lonely place. I want to live with joy.
And I am.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
For the past 6-8 weeks, I have not been taking good care of myself. I've been strength training sporadically, and cardio has been non-existent. And my eating habits have been getting progressively worse. The result? I gained back over 5# of the 70# I lost in 2012. VERY frustrating.
The past few days has been me refocusing and getting my MIND back into the game. Because honestly.... each night for weeks I went to bed berating myself for the choices I made that day, wanting desperately to get get back on track, and just not having my mind in the right frame of mind to do it.
I do have some legitimate hurdles right now, but the bare truth is that I haven't been doing everything that I could do for myself. I don't even want to think of all the high-fat, high-sugar calories I have taken in the past couple weeks. But here is a life truth..... this is a journey, and ALL journeys have bends and curves. Sometimes you fall. The question is, am I giving up on myself, or picking myself up? My answer... I'm picking myself up, dusting myself off, and getting back on the path of my journey. And to do that, I have to forgive myself for falling.
So I gained back some weight. SO WHAT?!?! I lost 70# this year. Obviously I know how to lose weight. I just need to do it. 5# will not define me. I know how to lose it, and I will. And I will continue on my goal.
Yesterday and today I returned to the gym, and returned to clean eating. Yesterday I filled a garbage bag of all holiday junk left overs and got rid of it. The only junk in my house now is in my 4 yr old's snack drawer. I spent a ridiculous amount of money at Walmart restocking whole, healthy foods. I took some time to make a crock pot full of healthy chili, and package in in 1-serving freezer bags (home-made fast meals), making the ranch dressing I love, etc. Setting myself up for success again.
Today I ran into my "trainer" at the gym (since my husband lost his job, we can no longer afford sessions with her, but we've become friends, and she remains my biggest cheerleader). We talked about where I am, letting the past month or two go, and setting goals for this year.
One of my biggest struggles right now is that as I've lost weight, my abdominal fold has gotten worse. (My highest weight was 420#, and I'm now at 245#... that's a lot of excess skin!) I've been dealing with increased rashes and infections. I have seen my doctor, and have an appointment with a plastic surgeon on January 21st. I am PRAYING my insurance will approve the removal of this apron of skin. It's to the point that I had to stop jogging because it moves so much that it causes excruciating back pain. I can only do about 20 hard minutes on the elliptical or treadmill before the back pain sets in from having so much weight hang. I am supplementing on the stationary bike, but it's difficult. Even now, my back is aching from my 40 minutes of cardio this morning. I've tried the support aids and am to the point that only surgery will fix this. I am humiliated by this... because it is a result of the abuse I have done to my body. It is the result of my choices.
So my dear Sarah (trainer) and I talked about goals for 2013. My goal on January 3rd last year, the day I first went to the gym and met her, was to lose 70# before December 31st. I met that goal. Time to set some new ones.
Goal #1: Address the apron of skin/ back pain issues.
Goal #2: Get UNDER 200# (Sarah's goal for me is 185#.. that sounds like a fairytale to me right now, but I'll work towards it!)
Goal #3: Continues staying fit, active, and HEALTHY! At my last doctors' appointment, my doctor could barely hear my heart murmur... it's actually healing as my heart strengthens!!!
So.... here's to my achievements in 2012, and proving to myself that I CAN DO THIS! And here's to moving past the bumps in the road to meet my new goals!
Happy New Year!
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