Wednesday, March 09, 2011
The video above is me before I began my journey and today. For the record, I followed the principles in Natural Hygiene to quit smoking :). I did a video blog to catalog it..and now it serves as my "before" blog. I introduce it today (Ash Wednesday) before you see the actual video. The difference is crazy-I can't believe that was just a year ago! Happy Sparking!!!
Exactly one year ago today, I apprehensively began my journey on SparkPeople.com after gaining confidence from being smoke-free for a month, not knowing what to expect. I had spent a great deal of the nine years prior thinking I wanted to lose weight and was never successful, so the possibility that I could be a success story didn’t seem probable.
Sitting on the computer that first day, my 5’ 3’’ medium frame had gained over 70 pounds in the four years prior (over half my body weight, from 123 to 197 pounds). The last 20 pounds really started to have an effect me, I was finding it difficult to find clothes and would easily get winded doing simple tasks such as going up stairs. When my dad would force me to work out with him, my heart rate went crazy (190’s+) when I was just walking on an incline.
From the time that I went through puberty, I was told I needed to lose weight in various ways by my parents and even my grandma. My parents later told me that what they really meant is that I had “bad genes” and they wanted me to scare me from getting fat (HA…joke was on them later). I got made fun of all the time by people who watched me gain the weight, mostly behind my back with the exception of my family members. Although, it usually got back to me though in one way or another. Subconsciously, I wanted so badly to be recognized for something other than my looks. I would say my unhealthy body image began around seventh grade, getting worse and worse as I grew older and my parents began to put more and more emphasis and my weight.
Pretty much from the time I went through puberty on, I felt like I needed to lose weight. I can remember doing hundreds of crunches and counting calories in seventh grade, even though I really didn’t understand why (except that’s what people with “bad genes” do). I recognized that my body fat percentage and weight fell into the “normal” and "healthy" categories (20-22% body fat, 120-125 pounds in high school), but always had body image issues. I hated to be in a bathing suit and even went through periods where I would cover up my body in layers because I hated my body so much. There was always a struggle with logical me and the me that had been effected by the negative reinforcement of my parents. Even though I knew I was a healthy body weight, I hated my body and the way it looked.
Even though I always thought that I wanted to lose weight, my actions did not really show it. I began binge eating at a pretty young age, although it didn’t catch up to me until I was around 18 and I gained my first 10-20 pounds. My thoughts were always consumed with food and when I was going to eat next, even though I thought I wanted to lose weight. These unhealthy thoughts were a result of my parents (and others) putting so much stress on the way I looked, which caused me to have an unhealthy obsession with food. As a result of my unhealthy obsession, I started gaining weight rapidly (about 20-25 pounds a year) and didn’t stop until I had effectively proven my point: I am more than just what is on the outside, which was a hard concept for my superficial parents to grasp. At my heaviest, my dad even told me (in the sincerest way possible) that he felt bad for me because he wanted a nice man to marry me and that they would have to be attracted to me first.
When I would hear comments about my weight gain (which started after I gained the first 10 or so pounds), it didn’t make me want to lose weight. In fact, it made me stubborn and not want to allow people to think they had control over how I felt about myself. I think this made me subconsciously want to gain more weight so I could prove my “point” (something along the lines of I’ll do what I want/don’t have to be what you want me to be in combination with being more than just what was on the outside). The bizarre thing about it all was that the whole entire time I thought I wanted to lose weight, even though I was binge eating and didn’t want others to feel like they had control over me. Ultimately, my binge eating obviously won and I ended up about 30 pounds into the obese category for my height by the end of my struggle.
By the time I was at my heaviest, words cannot describe how much grief I was getting from others about my weight gain. My parents would never shut up (my dad was constantly forcing me to go to the gym and nagging me, my mom made comments but not as much). My siblings (you can read past entries) told me things such as “starve yourself,” “go throw up,” “you’re fat and disgusting,” and “no one is going to ever like you because you’re fat.” There were people I sort of knew before I left for college who legitimately didn’t recognize me (to be honest-this probably hurt the most out of all of it, haha). You would think this would motivate me to lose weight, but none of this caused stubborn me to want to change my habits.
I had started going to the gym more with my dad since I had given up smoking, which motivated me to stay smoke-free and cleaned up my lungs faster. Even though my endurance was awful, it felt good to work out again (I worked out on and off since junior high through teams and clubs and on my own). I chose to ignore the fact that my dad nagging me to go to the gym with him was just another way to tell me I needed to lose weight. It was the only way I’d be able to get stubborn me into the gym.
A few days later, I came across the SparkPeople website for probably the fifth time (I had created a username before and was took big of a wussy to really get involved in the site-haha), I decided to sign up and create a new e-mail just for my SparkPeople account. I set up my Mail client so it would alert me when I got a message. I took my “before” pictures and posted them on my page and joined a few teams that I thought would help me. I quickly made friends with people who joined around the same time as I did (CHOATICKITTY, VEGANCHIC, KISSYTINA, BLAIRJ, etc.). This was where my SparkPeople obsession began. :). I followed the Spark way of doing things and for the first time in my life, I started losing weight consistently.
I blogged regularly, it felt good to be able to vent since I was still getting hell from my family members about being fat. Blogging made me feel good, hearing other Sparkers speak up made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I COULD DO THIS. It was the first time I had ever tried that I felt motivated for longer than 24 hours (HA!).
The best feeling was when people began telling me that I was an inspiration to THEM. Who me? The girl who struggled for so long with body image issues? No way! :) It gave me the confidence to continue, combined with the fact that I was steadily losing weight and finally able to complete health goals I had set for myself.
I began working out regularly, some weeks I’d fall off randomly…but I always got back on track (and usually quickly). By the time July came around, I was so impressed with how much stronger I had gotten. Working out no longer was a chore (YES-what other people tell you is true, you do eventually hit that point…haha, I didn’t believe it either). In fact, working out comes before most things in my life and I’d rather work out than not. Haha.
With the encouragement of others on the site, I decided it was time to put my passion to work. I applied and got a position at a wellness clinic/chiropractor’s office as a weight loss coach. I have loved being able to watch people achieve their goals offline as well and even spread the Spark a little bit :).
I’d be lying to say my journey has been perfect, and if you read my blogs the past few months, you’d see that. Losing weight is about getting to where you need to be psychologically and doing it for no one but YOURSELF.
I do know one thing though; I have met some of the most encouraging and amazing people on this site who have changed my life forever. I’m telling you, just knowing about SparkPeople is a gift. You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to; you just have to stick with it. SparkPeople is a great way to stick with it. For those of you starting out, I NEVER imagined I’d be where I’m at (a smoke-free weight loss coach down ~65 pounds of fat, 55 pounds total [I gained 10 pounds of muscle this past year]) a year ago. Even if you have tried a million times (so did I), try AGAIN. This time will be different if you follow the principles of SparkPeople. You CAN do it!
Thank you SO much to all my Sparkies and those who have kept up with my journey this past year. Here’s to making my second year on SparkPeople great :).
Here's my journey in pictures SO FAR :) (I added some from my last blog)
Hiding in my jacket..I did this a lot. haha.
Pretty much completely stopped doing my make-up too! haha.
My dog...and my old double chin! haha.
Had to start wearing sports bras because my boobs were getting way too big!
The December before the March that I got on Sparks.
You can see how fat I am just by looking at my hands!
No more cute Halloween costumes for me! haha-Halloween.
This wasn't even my heaviest! 21st birthday!
Body shot on the 21st again.
This is the last picture I took before my life started changing. Two days after this I quit smoking cigs and about a month after that I started using Sparks. THANK YOU GOD!! haha. COMPLETELY stopped caring, what-so-ever. haha. As you can see..no wonder people who hadn't seen me in awhile couldn't recognize me!
All of this pictures make me realize how fast this all happened...I went through all the pics I've taken since getting my digital camera (I got it when I was around 170ish). My other one broke when I was 170ish in college and I didn't replace it--haha, I think it was because subconscious me didn't want to document my fatness anywhere anymore (which was crazy because I always took a million pictures..which I'm back to doing now, haha). WOWWW...can't believe it. Here we go!!
About a month on Sparks!
About a month on Sparks!
The first pic I took with my new digital camera!
I believe around 168...
I believe around 168-170
Around 168...period bloat I remember. haha.
163-ish..my mama. haha. I can remember thinking I looked skinny for me at the time. haha.
Finally at the pool after years of hating my body-regardless if I was 120 pounds or almost 200! haha. That's what this picture will always mean to me. Sunscreen sprayed everywhere!! haha.
Glad to be back at the pool-I always loved it! haha.
Ruffles are not flattering on big chested girls! haha 163-ish.
Same dress..but 161-ish now! haha. This dress doesn't really fit anymore :( and I LOVED it. But yay for it being too big, because when I bought it, I could hardly zip it!
161-ish with a period bloat! haha.
haha, waiting for my boobs to shrink with the rest of my body! 161-ish.
HULLLO 150-ville! haha..159ish.
haha-if you don't notice..I wore a lot of the same clothes out..didn't want to buy more when I was going through sizes so quickly. So I was wearing old clothes from when I last could fit in them (in college). 159ish.
The superficial parents who gave me so much grief..haha. But I still love them anyway. 158ish.
I LOVE SP!!!! My first SP shirt!!
156ish. Funny thing..I bought these shorts in black and yellow too because I like how they fit..I bought them pretty tight so I could grow into them. You can tell here because my fat kinda rolls over. Now I have to fight with them to stay up! haha.
154ish. Love my pooch, if you couldn't tell already! haha.
My parents and I. 154ish.
The little brother who notoriously called me fat for 20 minutes when I was first trying to lose weight while my mom didn't say anything. haha (remember that blog entry?). We get along most of the time, I swear. haha.
Now when my friends go out for smoke breaks while we are out, I work out while I wait! haha. 153ish.
HA! New vest! 148ish.
Found my jaw line! haha.. 147ish.
After the cleanse...back up to 149ish.
Here's afterward..haha..this is all kinda a blur as far as weight goes, like I said..I keep gaining and losing the same 5 pounds. I also stopped weighing myself for awhile. Tried to put them in order :) These are all between 140-147 haha.
Mommy and I!
Homecoming down at my college! Go Salukis!
Some of my girl frands :)
My best guy friend and I
My family vacation to Caribbean!
More family vacation to Caribbean!
Miami after the Caribbean! haha-gained like 7 pounds on the cruise! Of course, a lot of it was SODIUM weight...which is something I learned about on Sparks :)
With one of my best friends, Carrie
Size 4! haha-quite the feat for me!
Same night! :)
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Soooo this marks 365 days that I have been on SparkPeople! Woohoo. You can expect me to post my one-year in picture blog very soon. I was thinking of doing something a little bit fun that would encourage me to blog! My first entry on SparkPeople was March 10 of last year. I think it would be fun to reflect on every entry on the same day this year as I wrote it last year. It allows me to reflect on the progress I have made while encouraging me to be more self-aware. Plus, I'll always have something to blog about because I wrote close to every day :).
I decided to write my last blog on something that has had a huge impact on my whole entire life: control. As I have talked about in previous entries, my dad was very controlling of my mother. I picked up on this at a very young age and developed control issues. My life growing up was extremely unstructured (my parents got divorced when I was in fourth grade and both went through "selfish" phases where they heavily drank) and the fact that I was a middle child left me with little attention. I grew to be very independent, but also very emotionally awkward. I also tried to plan and control every aspect of my life that I could, mostly because my home life was very unpredictable. The result was that I became an excellent student, which went unnoticed. What I did notice was that, in my family, the more you messed up...the more attention you got. I found this extremely irritating and as a result, I constantly wanted to get away from my family. I ended up going to college 5 1/2 hours away from home to get away. I even planned to live in St. Louis and refused to move home after I graduated. haha. Ultimately, I moved back home (thank God) and started on my very successful Spark Journey :)
My dad has always used negative reinforcement to "encourage" us--which ultimately backfired on him (my siblings and I all rebelled in different ways--mine happened to be my weight gain). This further developed control issues in me. (Subconsciously, which I didn't realize until later), I felt like my family members were trying to control my weight and how I felt about myself by telling me I was fat. Mind you, I was like 25 pounds lighter than I am now and not fat at all.
Believe it or not, it wasn't until one of my good friends in college pointed out that I was a huge control freak before I even realized it. I was super self-destructive in college, so we're not even friends anymore...but I don't think I would have even realized I had control issues if it wasn't for him. Obviously, this has made me understand my weight gain a lot..but I remember hearing him say it and it clicking..."oh my gosh..I am a control freak!" haha..it was funny because it didn't hurt my feelings at all, it was almost comforting because I had realized something that explained why I was who I was so much. I don't know how long it would have taken to figure out if it wasn't for him..most of my friends from home never saw the side of me that my friends from college did (which wasn't really a good side-haha).
I was thinking about control, which is why I have had so many issues lately. My parents, who won't take credit for my gain..but have no problem taking credit for my loss, are my problem. I have worked TOO hard for anyone to take credit besides me..especially the people who put me where I was. At least that has been my mindset the past few months....and look at where it has gotten me..haha. Losing/gaining the same 5 pounds over and over again. So you know what it's time for? Letting go. I am going to seek help on getting over my control issues because they are getting me no where. Where I am going to find that help, I don't know.
Bottom line..only I can control how I feel. No one can MAKE me feel a certain way. I need to start taking responsibility for my actions/stop blaming other people...and that starts today. Today is my 365th day on the site. I am going to start my one-year anniversary out like I did a year ago: strong. :)
Hope everyone is doing well! :)
Monday, March 07, 2011
OOOPS, I forgot to write yesterday..I was on SparkPeople and everything!
I don't have much to report. I haven't been feeling well..I just want it to get warm out already :(. haha. Who is with me?
How is everyone else doing?
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Here's my 1-year lead up! Expect my one-year in pictures soon :)
Friday, March 04, 2011
Hey Sparkies-still keeping up with my accountability. I did overeat today..crap! haha. I'm trying to not focus on it too much..still trying to figure out what works and doesn't work for me. It's a learning process..right? In the meantime, I probably had around 4,000-5,000 calories today so I'm probably going to feel crappy tomorrow.
But the good news is that I'm still here and I'm loving my gym :)
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