A few days ago I hit a goal I hadn't really marked as a goal. I usually set mini goals to reach but I had stopped really looking at the big picture at just how much weight I've shed in the past year. When I got to my start page on here after entering my new weigh in I actually took notice at the number. 85!! I have gotten rid of 85lbs in the last year, I'm extremely proud and I have to admit even though it took a year it kind of sneaked up on me. I have obviously noticed that I'm in smaller clothes and my measurements are smaller the scale number is less but I really didn't add that all up in my mind I guess. I was really surprised. So to mark this accomplishment I thought a blog was in order.
I have so many sparkfriends to thank for this and spark itself because I have rid myself of all this weight by using the site and being active and exercising. Thank you everyone who have helped me along in this past year, I could never have done it without any of you.
As I sit here writing this I'm still a bit blown away, seriously 85lbs, that's a small person! LOL I don't want to say that I never thought I'd reach this goal. Instead I want to say I kept my focus and kept telling myself I'd get there, instead of focusing on the when I would reach it. I have to be honest I can't even lift 85lbs! Well ok maybe I could lift it for a short minute LOL But I am at the point in my journey where I am really seriously adding much more strength training. So not only am I proud that I've made it here I'm also extremely proud the way I've done it. NO crazy fad diets, no surgery, no starving, nothing outside of spark in terms of program (ie. Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem) just spark, the tools here, of course my amazing teams and challenges, learning how to choose better choices for my food and rediscovering my love of exercising. Outside of Spark and moving my butt the only other huge change I made was becoming Vegetarian. Those of you who know me well are aware that I became vegetarian for animal cruelty reasons more so over the nutritional content in meat. Some of my family members always feel the need to add this when speaking of my weight loss, as if becoming vegetarian was the magic factor that just dropped the weight off. I always tell people that's not the case. You can be a vegetarian and still eat badly and be unhealthy. And you can most certainly eat meat and dairy and still drop the weight and be very healthy, I know I'm not wrong when I say there are very many success stories here on spark of individuals who do both are carnivores and vegetarians.
For those people who do not know me well and would want some kind of insight on how I made it to this point in my journey I offer this insight: Obviously everyone is different and although the things I've done to improve my health may inspire or motivate others they still need to find their own true path that really works for them. I want to add losing weight is really not hard-when you do it the wrong ways-the unhealthy ways, how do you know if it's an unhealthy way? My advice is once you stop doing whatever it is that's dropping the weight so quick, and you go back to your "everyday" lives and the weight starts adding up again-this is not the best and healthy way to do it. I also want to add I know I could have reached this point much faster than I did in the last year, but life happens, and that's when you need to really find out your priorities in life. So yes I could have been at this goal much earlier, I'm not discouraged or bothered by that, because I'm very proud to say that because I was not on "a diet" to become more healthy and reach a healthier weight, I didn't really gain any of it back when those tough times in life did happen to me this past year. That's how I know this 85lbs is gone for good.
So here is what I will say I personally did over the past year to reach this point. First, I didn't just set a end goal weight, I set a lot of mini goals along the way. And as I mentioned it is these things I focused on to keep me on track. Yes I have that end # but I've been working at 10# at a time, I've been celebrating many more NSV, I look at the big picture and not the # on the scale. I also focused on my daily goals, staying in my ranges on my tracker with food, and really changing the way and what I eat. I have definitely taken this journey one day at a time and continue to do so. Second and this is a really big one with me, I NEVER tell myself no or I can't to anything in life. This includes food and exercise and just about everything else in my life. This is big with me personally because once I tell myself whether mentally, written or if someone else says it to me I am extremely stubborn and I will automatically do the opposite!
So that was a word that has been definitely banned from my vocabulary. Once I figured this personality trait out about myself my journey really started I feel. I started looking at things much differently, I may not have been eating the same unhealthy foods I had before but it was now because when given the opportunity to eat these foods,because I knew it wasn't something I was forbidding myself to have, I had to consciously make a choice to choose whether or not to eat that food. And now knowing just how much I'm working to make myself better and healthier it made it easier to choose not to eat the unhealthy choices. I had learned that I was important, to me personally. This may sound odd to some people but I had overlooked my health and most other personal things in my life for way too long. I can't say that I'm completely cured of all self conscious feelings about my body and personality but I'm definitely a much stronger confident person. I'm not perfect, and I never will be. But I do know that I'm awesome and I rock! Most of this attitude comes from within me and has nothing to do with what size I am or how I look mostly. Yes I like how I look much better now than I did a year ago, but more importantly it's how I feel. I love ME!! That was very hard to accept, very hard I won't even try to lie and say it wasn't Third, I moved my butt! Sorry, but there's no magic way around this...you need to be active to be healthy-at any size or weight. You can be a size 0 and just be skinny fat and unhealthy, no muscle tone at all. And I'm going to also add that exercise was really the key to improving my confidence in myself. I may not be the best looking woman at the gym or the thinnest, but I know I really work hard when I'm there. I know I accomplished a lot in the minutes I put in there. And this may also be funny to some of you but when I notice the thinner better looking women at the gym and actually what they do at the gym, it makes me feel awesome. Maybe it's just my gym, but the thin pretty girls don't like to seem to really work their butt off and get soaked in sweat, maybe it's because they don't necessarily need to, but me knowing when I walk out that locker room and I know I've accomplished so much more than most those women, I feel amazing. This is where the I'm awesome and rock comes in because that's how I feel after a workout, and I have yet to find very many other things that feel that good in life.
Now the other thing I would tell someone facing a similar journey is this, if I could accomplish this in the past year, you can and anyone can. This I'm sure of, why? Because this past year although has had some good times, unfortunately it had to be one of the worst if not the worst life in all my 35 so far. As I mentioned earlier life happens, and it's how you cope with what is happening in your life that will help or hinder your success. This was also a hard lesson to learn for me. Everyone has things that will try to derail you from your path on your journey, everyone. No one gets a free pass from life. No one can ever say nothing ever happens that effects them mentally or physically. It is one thing we all have in common and share no matter your culture, family, color, status, situation or education in life. Now I can't sit here and say my year was any worse than anyone else's that I can't say, I only experience what happens in my life on a personal level, I may know what goes on in other people's lives but how it effects them internally is what I will never fully understand and although I may be able to relate to some things, it is truly impossible for me to know exactly what anyone else feels or thinks honestly. All I can express is what I've been through in the past year that in my mind has made it the worst of my life.
And as you read this I don't want you to focus on the negatives that have happened to me, that's not why I'm sharing. It's so you can see that if I can go through and deal with all that and still reach this goal, you most certainly can achieve your goals too! So here goes, a little over a year ago, I started dating my best friend of 7 years, this was obviously a good thing, us both being in the same profession made it hard to deal with at times. No matter how well I thought I knew my friend up to that point I had never been a part of his life like I now was, so there was a lot of adjusting and we're still adjusting. Now after 7 years both of our feelings were out and known to each other my friend no longer held anything back and without going into an even longer explanation, I'll just say he felt he had waited long enough and felt now we both wanted to be together we didn't need to wait to become more serious with our relationship and despite him knowing that I had a horrible first marriage and that I expressed that I really had no intention of getting married again, he proposed. So first hard decision of the year...as I was trying to make that decision, my estranged father of almost 9 years died, and I was named in his estate. Now I had to deal with my feelings for my fiancee and my father who I never got to express most of my feelings for. And in true fashion my father died and left a mess. He had been living in Egypt and had passed over there, and I have an estranged half sister who I now had to try to talk to in getting our father back to the US and buried in Arlington where he had the honor because of his service in the Vietnam war. So now I was forced into dealing with people and feelings I hadn't had to for several years and the situation in my personal life as well. My fiancee being the sweet loving and caring man he is thought that him expressing even more that he wanted to get married was showing me that he wanted to be there for me and stand behind me. As some time passed and the funeral was done and things had seemed to settle back down to normal, my fiancee tells me that his career in music is becoming more serious and that a tour has been planned, his first ever. I was proud, he's extremely talented and it was time he shared it with the rest of the world. He however expected me to pretty much drop everything in my career and life go with him for the 7 weeks he would be gone, which is sweet but at the same time hard to do. So knowing I now needed to step up and be there for him especially when he is seriously scared out of his wits of performing live. I tried to compromise and told him I would go for the last half of the tour. He being uncertain and self conscious of himself he felt a very strong need for us to get married before he left. We had been a couple at this point for 3 months, I was no where ready for that, so then we discussed just setting a date then. He then leaves and everything is awful for him, he pleads for me to come and that he can't do the tour without me there, that everything just goes horribly wrong and he can't deal with it. So I end up flying back and forth pretty much all over two continents to try to be there as much as I can for him and as proud as I am to see him performing, I am discovering I'm also not in any way used to him having a fan following. So now not only do I have to try to deal with being with him I have to also get used to the idea of sharing him in a sense with the public and with us being extremely private people we made the decision to keep our relationship private and essentially only for us to know and our family, which becomes very tricky public situations. And over the next 7 weeks of his tour I'm really realizing I don't like dealing with any of it and to be honest I'm jealous and don't need to be in a room of women screaming at my man on stage. So ultimately I tell him it's too hard for me and I break things off and then a cycle starts and we get back together and break up, the tour literally was doing our relationship in and I had found out right before he left for the 7 weeks that I had cancer and I didn't have the heart to tell him because I knew he needed to do this for his career. So now I've got all this going on physically and emotionally. And I'm still trying very hard on my journey to better health. After his tour ended and we were back home I decided I really needed time for me to just get away and focus on nothing but my health and well being I wasn't leaving him but I was taking a break from everything. I went away with a plan of focusing only on my health and my treatment for cancer for the next 10 weeks. After being away for 2 he shows up and gives me one final choice marry him and marry him that weekend or we stop trying and see if it's possible to go back to just being friends. So on July 8 we got married, and I was happy and glad we did and we had not a great next 10 weeks with me going through chemo and radiation but we were at a good place in our relationship while I had to go through it. And after almost dying, I found a way to beat the cancer and the possibility of me maybe being able to tour again for my own career looking promising I was hopeful for my birthday coming up in Oct. My now husband decides to merge his career with my birthday and plans a one night solo performance to promote new music he had written and celebrate my birthday, which meant a lot to me knowing how much he hates performing live. Right before my birthday and in the midst of my training for my own spot in a major tour my mom has a serious stroke and I'm forced to go take care of her being the only family left alive. My mom and I don't have a good relationship and my husband has at more than one time expressed how he would prefer I have nothing to do with her. Trying to again please everyone I take time away from caring for my mom and go for my birthday celebration planning a very much needed two weeks with the hubs but with the combination of my birthday, us still not public with our relationship,and the screaming girls at the show and his issues with my mom it turns into a huge argument and we completely separate and really don't speak for the next 4 months. I tried to focus on my career and my journey to fitness and health and I end up breaking my hand at a rehearsal which now puts the possibility of me touring come February at risk. Finally in February, my husband and I really sit down work things out and get back together, I'm thinking YAY!! right? And I know my hand isn't going to be healed in time for my tour but I can join the show at a later time and pick up with it. Things seem good. Dear Husband then tells me he's finished his first album and it's being released soon. More great news. Then he says in order to promote the album he is going on a 6 month tour and that he really doesn't want me to tour at all and just go be with him. I was really just at this point asking God, why? Why all this, really? Is there no one else's life you can mess with we've only been back together for a month. One thing I know for sure is I'm not going with him....no way I won't be forced to deal with the fans and have my relationship suffer because of it. So we agree that I will not go to the shows but I will go be with him on his longer breaks in order to spend time with him and not be apart the entire time. And that was working really well, he was learning he needed to get over me not being at the show and thinking he would be terrible and I was fine having my husband just as he usually is when i did see him. So by April we were thinking we were doing really well and I was going to meet up with my tour by May. My husband is playing in LA for two weeks and his family was in town so we were all spending time together, things continued to be good. And his last performance on the last Saturday he's in LA I find out that my young daughter who lived with my ex-husband in London was killed in a car accident, my ex's girlfriend had forgotten to buckle my daughter in her car seat. Yes it was very good I found this out at a time I had my husband and his father and step mother there for me, but that was really the only good thing. For two days none of us really spoke because we were all devastated, and come Monday my husband has to go to his next show, he feels bad he has to go, I feel bad because I want to be with him more than ever and I now have to go make arrangements for my daughter in London with just my FIL and stepMIL with me. Which pretty much brings me to now...husband still on tour, I have canceled all plans of touring myself and have really just taken a huge step back from my life completely. I see the hubs when I can and still talk to him daily but both of us are still trying to deal with losing Maggie ourselves which can make it hard to really try to be there for someone else when you're hurting just as bad.
So there you go..the worst year of my life...and I'm sorry for how long this has been but I will end it with this again.
If I can have that much "life" happen all around and to me the past year and still have accomplished this remarkable goal of getting rid of 85lbs and being healthier and still setting new goals for myself one of which running my first 5k race in October, than you can reach your goals, anyone can as long as they realize that life will always happen and because it does, it's not something you can use as an excuse to keep you from reaching those goals. I'm not saying by any means don't deal with life or keep pushing yourself just as hard. I'm saying life will always be there and yes sometimes you need to take a step back or a little break to recharge and refocus but you can't let it stop you because there will always be something and once you use life as an excuse you do two things in my opinion. One, you keep yourself from reaching your goals and having the possibilities you dream of and two you really stop truly living your life and just become stuck with everything continuing around you. And my friends it is so much harder to get unstuck from that situation than it is to keep working at your goals along the way and living life through the tough times.