Sunday, March 04, 2012
If you had asked me 2 years if I was happy being fat, of course I'd have said no. I seriously doubt that any overweight person (especially one who is morbidly obese, as I was) would tell you they love being fat. However, I (and I believe this applies to almost all severely overweight people) was living in denial.
You don't become over 300 pounds by accident.
For years I wouldn't allow myself to believe I was unhealthy. I ate a lot of junk, but I also ate healthy things too and made most of my food, so I allowed myself to believe that it wasn't SO bad. I could do all the things I had to do, like clean my house and take care of my kids and I wasn't so far gone that I couldn't keep up with my hygiene, so I allowed myself to believe I was OK. Even when my back started hurting a lot, or my feet would be sore all the time, or I was aching and stiff just getting up out of bed, I told myself I was ok. When I breathed hard going up stairs or walking for a while I was in denial about the fact that I couldn't breathe because I had so much fat it was pushing my organs around and compressing my lungs. I didn't want to believe that my weight was starting to cause me problems. I'd told myself for years if I ever got to the point where my weight was affecting my health, that I'd change. I realized I needed to change, and that scared me because I didn't believe I had the strength to do it.
There were many years I was not able to do certain things (like ride roller coasters) and I told myself that it didn't matter. I knew I was big, but I never really thought I was THAT big. That probably doesn't make sense to someone who doesn't have a weight problem, but I believe that we tell ourselves we aren't that big or don't REALLY look at ourselves because we don't want to see what is really there. I hated having my picture taken and one day in early 2010 a full body picture was taken of me.
That day I realized how huge I was. I saw what everyone else saw. I shouldn't have been surprised, but in a way I was because I could not believe how big I'd let myself get. I was ashamed. For so long I told myself that on such and such a day I'd start exercising or dieting, but I didn't, or I'd try and lose a little weight and give up when it got hard.
After that photo, I started making changes to better my life. People ask me all the time how I got started and what finally made me want to do it. All I can say is that I think I just got to a point where enough was enough. When you are ready to change and REALLY want it, and are willing to do the work, you can do it. I was more than ready and determined no matter how long it took me I would get rid of this weight. I had hit the bottom..not being able to fit comfortably in booths, seatbelts in some cars not fitting me, not fitting in rides at the amusement parks, not being able to slide down the slides with my kids because I didn't fit. I felt like crap all the time, and it was because I was treating myself like CRAP.
I have never known what life is like as a thin or even an average sized person. I've been overweight since I was a small child, and I told myself that maybe I was meant to be fat because I'd always been. There was a time I truly believed I'd live the rest of my life as a fat person and die that way, and that makes me so sad that I'd resigned myself to live that way. I've spent most of my life not loving myself enough, and trying to love and care for other people, but during this process I have realized I didn't care about ME enough.
Once I decided to believe in myself, and believe I was worth changing, I did. I know now I am worth it, and I am finally living my life the way I'd always pictured it could be. I have tons of energy and get so much done. I can do so much more physically, and now mentally I feel a control of my life that I never felt before. Being in control of my health and my body feels absolutely amazing. Going out to dinner and not eating junk and planning my meals is empowering. I feel so healthy and so alive, and there is nothing better. For so many years I felt like I was walking around in a fog, and now everything is so much clearer.
I can run. I can ride a bike without feeling like I'll die. I can walk forever without being tired. I can do things physically that I have never been able to do before the last couple of years. I've learned to take care of myself.
No, this has not been easy. It has literally been a path of blood, sweat and tears. I have felt like giving up many times and have not been perfect, but I decided to keep going. It has been hard, probably the hardest thing I've ever done besides raising my kids, but it has been totally worth it. I now have the tools to succeed, and I know I will never gain this weight back.
I did this for me, and for my health, so I could live the life I have always wanted. Nothing seems impossible to me anymore. I tell myself all the time that life is meant to be lived, and I am finally headed in the right direction. Now I can see the future and I don't worry about growing old and being weak or sick. All that weight was a physical and emotional anvil around my neck, and as I let it go, I find more of myself that is just waiting to emerge. This is truly about more than losing weight, it's about changing your whole life and the way you think about everything.
So, what are you waiting for? Your life is waiting for you to live it, so get out there and live it well.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Lately there are so many things I want to experience. For so long I felt limited with what I could do because of my weight, but now I am less intimidated by trying new things. I don't worry that I'll be over the weight limits or too big to fit in something. Just last night we went to dinner at Outback and got a booth, and for a split second I had a panicked feeling because I worried I wouldn't fit. But, I fit, as I always do now, and I had a lot of room. When for so long I was hovering near or over 300 lbs, it made me doubt myself, even about something as simple as eating out.
I am always trying to set new fitness goals and I've discovered that I really want to be a fit person, which surprises me. Honestly, I am probably in better shape than most people I know, even though I still have 60 pounds to lose. I've been thinking a lot about yoga in the last couple months. I've always been very interested in it, and so today I looked up some information on classes. There is one not too far from me, and the cost isn't too bad, so I think it's something I might do. They have beginner classes and even ones for couples, which I'd love to do, but I'm not so sure my husband would be up for it. Maybe I can talk him into it.
For years I've been interested in riding horses. When I was younger we went to a place in the mountains and you could ride them along a trail. It was one of the best times I ever remember having, and have always wanted to do it again. For a long time I felt like I was too big. I even looked it up to see if there were weight limits, and the information that I found was that they will have to put you on a horse that can hold your weight. Then I started wondering if different places would have the right horse for me, and I felt too embarrassed to ask. So, I just put it out of my mind as something I wouldn't do. Now I really want to go somewhere to ride horses.
I've always been interested in nature, and over the last few years have gotten more into birdwatching. We get this brochure from the county every few months which offers different programs, and I'd always look at the kayaking ones and think what fun that might be. I never wanted to try signing up for that, because the introductory class was hours long, and I didn't think I'd be at the fitness level to do it. Also, many kayaks only hold up to 250, and I was above that weight. Now that I weigh 210 and am in a lot better shape, I'd love to go kayaking. Being in nature is who I am, and I want to experience it in different ways.
Just this past year I was able to do something that for years I couldn't do because of my weight, and that was ride roller coasters again. It's something that my husband and I did a lot the first few years we were together, and for so many years I couldn't, and it made me sad. There were a lot of rides I just would not have been able to fit into. So, I'd go along and sit while everyone else rode, and it killed me, but I acted like it was no big deal. Part of it was that the rides made me feel sick, and I think my weight increasing caused that, but there were some rides I just would not have fit in. Now I am looking forward to this spring and summer and going to the theme parks with my family. Life is meant to be lived, and I want to participate in it.
One day I'd love to go in a hot air balloon ride with my husband. Besides being a romantic sort of thing to do, I feel like it must feel so freeing. I want to feel free in my life and I do the more weight that I get rid of. Finally I feel like I am becoming who I was meant to be.
In the summer of 2010, just a few months after I started getting healthier, my husband and I did some hikes. I did well, but I'd love to go back and hike to more waterfalls and not have it be quite so hard on me. There is a 6 mile one that we both shied away from, and now I would love to take that challenge. I could easily walk 6 miles now, but then, especially with the incline of the mountains it would have been hard.
Hopefully this will be the year I can do some of these things. I plan on working really hard and by the end of this year I would like to be at my goal weight or near it.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Ok, so I was watching tv and a certain Doctor ( I won't mention names because I am not sure if it's ok on here or what) was basically advocating it. This shocked me because usually he's all about the lifestyle change and just eating better and exercising.
Just let me say I have nothing against people who do this. I realize for some people they feel there is no other way. They may have many health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, and so they feel they are running out of time to lose weight and need help. There was a time I contemplated it. My insurance will not pay for it though, and I am kind of glad they don't because at one point I was really considering it.
Many things changed my mind. I read about all the risks, and they scared me. I'd also heard of and know of a lot of people who've had and it eventually gained the weight back. I've read how you have to take certain pills and can't always eat "normal" food. It seems like a very drastic way to change your body, and it kind of freaked me out.
I guess the main reason I am kind of surprised that this Doctor was promoting it is because I don't think it addresses the real reasons people become morbidly obese. It's not just because they like to eat. This is something I have realized as I started losing weight and changing my life. It's not just about food. Much of this is in our heads, and I don't see how for most people having a surgery is going to cure that. I've heard that many people who have it get counseling. I think that's good, but what about those who it doesn't work for?
The whole thing just bothers me. Every time I see commercials for weight loss pills, food plans or another plan that is promoted where you count points, I just wish those people knew about Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople is the only thing I found that ever made sense to me, and I've tried all my life to lose weight. It's so much more than just counting calories and exercise. It's about finding a way to come to terms with why you gained weight in the first place. Here I've found all the resources I need to help me live a better life: nutritional information, exercise information and demonstrations, support, articles and blogs to read, and The Spark, which was really an amazing book that helped me a lot.
I supposed having lost weight that I resent the fact that these medical professional act like it's impossible to do it and keep it off. Of course it isn't easy, but it can be done, the natural way. It makes me sad that so many people think they can't do it. I used to think that way. I wish I could tell everyone who feels lost about sparkpeople.
Even though I have nothing against people who have had it and realize that it's beneficial for some, it bugs the crap out of me when people find out about my weight loss and automatically assume I have had surgery.
What are your thoughts on this? I just hate how so many people think surgery is the answer for everything. I think people in general are way over-medicated and operated on. It's crazy.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I had a long conversation with a friend today about the challenges of weight loss, self-esteem and many other related topics. I enjoy talking with her because I feel we engage in conversation nicely. Mostly, I feel she understands me and listens to me, even if we don't always agree.
We talked about doubting yourself, and how fear kept me from ever trying to reach goals and do things I'd wanted to do. From as far back as I can remember, I have had low self-esteem. Never thinking something I did could be good enough is what kept me from the attempt. I'd lost weight before only to gain it back. So, I was fearful of trying again and failing. I was afraid that my body could not handle strenuous exercise and that I'd damaged it beyond fixing. There was the fear that I'd fail and let everyone down. When I would tell people of my weight loss efforts, I could see in their eyes that they doubted I could do it. That let me talk myself out of it. I cared more about what they thought of me than I did myself.
One day I decided I'd had enough. I was sick of not living my life the way I'd hoped to. I realized that unless I changed I would continue to miss out on life. The thought of my kids growing up with a mom who was limited physically was more than I could bear. I cried about it often, in secret, and was too ashamed to ask for the help I needed. The thought I could die early in life scared me. I wanted to live longer than many people in my family have. Most of them died too soon because they failed to take care of themselves, whether it was by smoking, drinking, being obese or just living an overall unhealthy lifestyle.
So, you could say I hit my rock bottom. I was going to figure out a way to change and not give up. I vowed that no matter what I would fight for this. People have often asked me how I did it, and all I can tell you is that when you are fed up and realize you can't accept something any longer, you will change.
So, fear is what held me back, but fear is also what got me started. I started to think about it not in terms of what I would/could fail at if I tried, but what I would never accomplish if I didn't. I decided to stop making excuses and JUST DO IT. "It's never too late to become what you might have been." -George Elliot
I still have fears and doubts. I am not perfect. But, I have learned that to face your fears makes you stronger. Each time you look fear in the face, you get stronger. The more you do it, the more you believe in yourself. I never believed in myself enough. I thought what every person who has a lot of weight to lose thinks: "Well, that's great for them, but *I* could never that. I am not strong enough. I don't have enough time. I don't have enough energy. I don't have enough willpower. I can't join a gym. I have no one to exercise with. I am scared." Now I find myself telling people if I can do it, so can you. That is the absolute truth. I am not special, I am just determined and dedicated, and dedication is a choice. If you really want something, you have to fight for it. I decided it was time to fight for myself. For so long I let myself believe that since I'd always been a fat person, that is how I would always be. I did not feel worthy of loving myself enough to take care of myself. I did not feel I deserved it. Low self worth manifests itself in varied forms, and for me it was in the form of morbid obesity. "It's not who you are that holds you back, itís who you think youíre not." -Anonymous
If there is one thing I have learned in the almost 2 years since I started making changes to better my life, it's that loving yourself and taking care of yourself are the best gifts you can give to those you love, and to the world. "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Ghandi
"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." -Michael Jordan
I once thought if I could lose even 50 pounds it would be a miracle. I have lost 113.
I once believed I'd never be able to run a mile. Now I can run 5 in less than an hour without stopping.
I used to think I'd never really feel great, but now I feel wonderful. Taking care of yourself and nourishing yourself with real wholesome food and working your body hard truly transforms you physically and mentally.
In the past I let fear control me, and now I control my fear.
I realize now that there are no limits to what I can do. If I want something bad enough, I can work toward it and do it. Jillian Michaels says that once you see how strong you are physically, it will transcend into all other areas of your life. That is so true.
I used to watch fitness shows sporadically and then not want to watch them because I'd see people do all these amazing things and believe I could never do it. Now I watch these people and think, "I can do that!" If I am not able to do something, I keep practicing until I can.
Don't be afraid. Yes, this is hard, but you CAN do it. You have all the power in this. No one can stop you if this is something you want. Nothing feels better than working toward a goal, then surpassing it. Then you just set a new goal.
I may not look like your typical athlete yet, but inside I feel like one. That is what matters.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
There are so many things that come to mind when I hear the word beauty. Everyone has their own idea of what person or thing is beautiful. On my list of beautiful things are: the ocean, sapphires and rose quartz, birds, roses, poppies, sunflowers, the mountains, trees, sunsets, dark hair and light eyes, shelves of books, the color blue and many other things I can't think of right now.
My point is that I think we often covet beauty and never realize the beauty in ourselves. I have always done this. Any time a person has complimented me, I have always had a hard time believing it and brushed it off. I always assumed that they were just trying to be nice. When my dad (and my husband) used to tell me I was beautiful I knew it was because I was his daughter ( or wife) and he HAD to say that. I have been overweight my whole life and always thought because of it that I was less of a person. I would try to do my makeup or wear something cute, but never felt worthy. I'd tell myself, "Why bother, it doesn't make a difference anyway." This is such an awful way to think, because no matter what your weight is, you are a person with worth who deserves to feel your best and put your best foot forward.
As women we often base our self worth on how we look, even though we shouldn't. I started to get more attention from boys (although not a lot) when I was in high school and lost weight. I was still not thin by any means, but I did feel better about myself. I still never felt like I was pretty though. Friends told me I was, but I didn't believe it. Now when I look at pictures of myself from high school, I do think I was pretty. I don't know why I didn't feel that way then. My self-esteem has always been low, and it's one of the reasons I got to be so overweight. When you never feel like you are good enough, I think that's when addictions often develop. You are looking to fill the emptiness with something or numb yourself from feeling.
Since I have lost more than 100 pounds I have gotten a lot of compliments from everyone. At first I thought they were just obligatory, but over the last year I have started to really believe what people say and said thank you when they give me a compliment. For so long I felt invisible, and I think in a way that I wasn't aware of at the time that I hid behind my weight. I know that probably sounds crazy, but maybe others will get what I am saying. I am starting to get carded more now when I buy wine, and for years I rarely ever did. People have told me I look younger since I lost weight, and I am starting to see it. For the first time in years men are flirting with me when I go out. I would be lying if I said that it didn't make me feel more attractive. I think we all see our own flaws more than others, but I am starting to think maybe I am a pretty person. People have often told me what an inspiration I am, what a smart person, or that I am an old soul. I have believed these, because I do feel that I am good person. Before the last year I sometimes felt like who I was on the outside didn't match my insides, but now it's starting to. When I look at pictures of me when I was over 300 pounds, I don't feel like that was me. I look so different, and that is because I was different. It makes me sad that I missed out on things for a lot of years, so when I look at those pictures it reminds me of where I never want to be again.
My husband has always loved me no matter how I've looked. He's always complimented me when I got dressed up or did my makeup, but I notice that even he compliments me more now. I do think I look better than I did, but more importantly I FEEL better, and I think when you are happy it radiates out of you in a way that makes people notice.
I'm trying to learn to love myself despite my flaws. My hair is frizzy, I have acne scars, I think my mouth is shaped weird, I have lots of extra skin and I wish I were taller and less squat looking. I am always envious of those women or girls who are just so pretty that you can't help but admire them. I know I will never be a beauty queen, but there are times now that I get dressed and fix my hair and put on makeup that I feel I look good. I feel more confident. I feel like ME.
This whole thing has been such a learning process. I think part of it is getting older and realizing what matters. It's not about what everyone else thinks, but what I think. In transforming my life and my habits I have become a better version of myself. It feels amazing to have control over my life when for so long I felt out of control. It feels good to believe in myself. It feels wonderful to be able to love myself, despite all my shortcomings. For a long time I didn't REALLY love myself because I didn't feel like I deserved it.
I saw this on someone's facebook page, and I really like it.
Let someone love you just as you are. As flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you might feel, as unaccomplished as you might think you are; let someone love you just as you are. And let that someone be you. " Sandra Kring
No matter who or what you think you are, you have the ability to change your life. Don't wait till tomorrow to start loving yourself, do it now.
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