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It’s So Much Better in the Rain

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It’s been a while… a long while, since I’ve written a blog. So much has happened since the last one. It’s hard to know where to start, other than “It’s so much better in the rain.” I’d say sunshine, but although it’s June, we’ve had more rain than sunshine lately, including today!

At the beginning of 2010, I ended up with two bulging discs in my low back that derailed my training plans for quite some time. I still have to be careful with some things (like carrying too much weight overhead), but I’m otherwise doing okay there. Then in May, I lost my 8 year old lab suddenly, and that took such an emotional toll on me. Then in August, I hurt my left knee… not bad enough to need surgery, but bad enough that I spent a lot of time babying it and taking time off… Then in January 2011, I ended up having emergency gallbladder surgery, followed by an allergic reaction to contract dye from a CT scan, followed by a nasty, nasty cold that left me completely spent emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I went “down the rabbit hole” in a big way after getting sick… and with each “event” I gained back more and more weight, until I topped out at 207 pounds. I swore I’d never be in the 200s again. I was wrong. I’d perfected emotional eating. I’d taken to eating to make myself feel as bad physically as I did mentally. So not a good thing… I’d lost all confidence, all momentum, all mojo, and all belief in myself.

In April 2011, I started going back to the gym again. Mostly just making it to a training session or two per week with Kurt, my trainer, or a yoga class. I tried a Zumba class or two, which was okay as long as I wore a knee brace for support. But I wasn’t eating well, I wasn’t consistent, and I was still very, very, very down emotionally and not pulling out of the tailspin I was in.

In May 2011, I made my goal nothing more than “staying out of the rabbit hole.” I wasn’t going to worry about food, tracking, being consistent. I was just going to try and find ways to be happy. (Kurt threw me a life line, literally… he chucked a braided rope at me and pulled me in before attaching it to the cable cross machine for some arm work! ) Deb (BEACHDREAMS) sent me encouragement and support through SparkPeople and Facebook. My teams, the Hawks and the Crushers, pulled me along.
At the Wells Fargo Pavilion Theatre in Sacramento, there’s a plaque on one of the chairs that reads, “If you’re not having any fun, it’s your own fault.” That was me – I hadn’t had any fun since I’d been Christmas shopping with friends in December. I started making it to more Zumba classes – which are always so fun. I started working harder with my trainer – he had me doing things to strengthen my back, my knee, my core, and I started to feel improvements in my body, my balance, my abilities. I took a long weekend and went down to the Bay Area (where I grew up) and met up with some “old” friends and went to Santa Cruz Boardwalk and to Laguna Seca for the Ferrari race with my cousin. While down there, I went to the local 24 Hr Fitness and blasted away 500 calories on my own. Back home, I went shoe shopping (I love DSW!) and out to dinner with a friend. I walked the dog. I read a book. I started Sparking more again. I even got sick the end of the month and that still didn’t fall back down “the rabbit hole.” I was feeling stronger, more stable, happier, more energetic, more confident, more capable, and most importantly, ready to move forward again.

My SparkClass made a June challenge to track all food, the good, the bad, the ugly! The 30-somethings team started ramping up for BLC 16. The Hawks were there flying with me on the 100+ Club. And I made the decision that I was going to take the bits of momentum I had started growing in May and add to them in June! I’m back to tracking, I’m back to doing more cardio, I’m amped up when I work with Kurt, my back and knee, while aren’t perfect, are cooperating with me again! I’ve got plans to do things with friends that aren’t centered around food! And although my official weigh-in won’t be until tomorrow, I was already back down 3 pounds by yesterday morning! It’s truly amazing what you can do when you get everything working in the right direction… when you start to believe in yourself, in your ability, in your program and your support network.

I reset my goals, I took new photos, I stocked the kitchen. I bought a pair of Vibram FiveFinger shoes that my trainer has been trying to get me to try for months. I went to Zumba this morning and torched over 500 calories. I came home and had a good, well-rounded lunch. I made plans with a friend to make it to U-Jam tomorrow night, and to a Zumba Master Class with Bradley “Crazy Socks” next weekend. I logged my food! I logged my exercise and checked my Body Bugg data! I Sparked!

And I remembered… I remembered what it was like to be 300+ pounds. I remembered what it was like to be in the 150s. And I KNOW where I was happier. I know where I felt better. I know where I was more able. I know where I was stronger. I know where I want to be again.

Towards the end of The Biggest Loser this last season, one of the last images of TBL gym was Bob's quote, "It's not about winning the game. It's about fixing what is broken."

3 years ago, I knew what was broken. Right now, I’m not 100% sure… but I’m 100% committed to finishing what I’ve started. And I’m going to bust through, jump over, or stomp into the ground any obstacles in my way. I will not be perfect. I will not manage to always stay on my feet. I may not even manage to stay completely out of that dang rabbit hole… but I know again, what it’s like to be dancing in the rain – and I’m going to do my best to stay above ground!

A few weekends ago, I went into the gym for a session with Kurt. When I got there, I asked him if he knew what we could do with 50 or 100 pounds... (50 pounds being roughly the amount of weight I've put back on and 100 pounds being roughly the amount of weight that I've still kept off.) My next sentence was, "You know how they have the biggest losers put the weight back on and then shed it again?" and I could see the light bulb go off over his head. He says, "Wait here" and took off.

He came back a few minutes later having retrieved a real military pack from his Jeep. (Let me tell you, these packs are AMAZING! But I digress...) He then took TWO 26lb kettlebells and loaded them into the bottom compartment of the pack. Then he put the pack on me and put on the straps around the front. Then he picked up two more 22lb kettlebells and gave me one for each hand. OMG... it was hard to even breathe! That's 96 pounds total, maybe 2-3 pounds for the pack... maybe 10 pounds less than what I've lost so far... insane. Then we walked into the fitness area and he had me do 20 step-ups onto a 6 inch step. Then we took a lap around the gym... I was sweating... there was no rest from it. I can't seriously believe that I used to just EXIST like that all the time. How did I walk? How did I move? How did I do anything? My knees hurt, my back hurt, my shoulders hurt.... I did 10 more step-ups and then he let me put down the ones I was carrying in my hands... he wanted me to try and do squats, but I could hardly get down! After 10 "best I could dos" he took the pack off and had me hold them "suitcase style" in each hand and I did more squats, and more and more... It's so hard to believe that I've taken that off times 2 and put that back one times 1. It's time to turn that around. It makes such a difference... my workout today was a major eye opener for me. I completely understand why they do this at The Ranch. It takes you back and makes you want to Never, Ever, Never go there again.

So unidentified demons – you are NOT going to drag me back there! I may not make the progress that I want, when I want it, but I’ll get there. I’m more determined ever to do that. I just need to remember that for me, finding balance will probably always be a challenge. I will always have stresses in my life. I’ll probably never get enough sleep. I’ll probably always deal with some ache or pain as I continue to push my body’s limits and bust through them. I’ll probably never have the time to do all the things that I want to do. But I’ll find the time to do the important things. I’ll work hard. I’ll play hard. And I’ll Spark.

-Audra emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • PHOENIX1949
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    1954 days ago
    Loved your blog. Especially how you are so honest with the regain. I am sure you will be back in the 150's in no time.
    2457 days ago
    You did it before, you'll do it again!
    2471 days ago
    Not sure how I missed this earlier!! Good blog! And I'll subscribe this time!

    2521 days ago
    Thank you for sharing this and for getting back into the Spark!!
    2524 days ago
    Thank you. This was so real and true. I wish I had thought to carry around the 50 lbs loss I was struggling to maintain before I gained 30 lbs back, but hey - maybe it's not too late to go find something that weighs 20 lbs just to see and remember. I wish you the best! emoticon emoticon
    2528 days ago
    I also am back to serious Sparking after backing off for a while. It was so helpful to read your put words to what I'm feeling. Thanks for the quote, "If you're not having any fun...." I'm going to make myself a poster of it! Kudos to you for REALLY moving forward with your joyful life.

    PS I hadn't officially joined the team challenge to track all food, but I have been and it's amazing to me that I make different choices sometimes just because I want the daily review to look good. I seem to do better with outside motivation....
    2529 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability and your strength. You have inspired me as I start my own journey.
    2530 days ago
  • KIKI0531
    This blog was so inspiring. While I have dealt with my depression and emotional eating in the past - I can sympathize with you. Its so hard to keep a clear head when the food is what you thought "comforted" you in the past. And the lack of enthusiasm for getting up and moving is something that I struggle with almost on a daily basis.

    Kurt making you train with the extra weight made me laugh. The other nite my 3 year old became tired and wanted me to carry her the rest of the way home after our walk. She weighs roughly 37 lbs. I have lost roughly 40 lbs. I was sweating and breathing hard by the time we got back and I realized that although my daughter is a perfect weight for her - I don't know how I walked with extra weight every day. No wonder I was always tired.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
    Greatly appreciated. Great motivation.
    2531 days ago
    I admire you for doing the things that you do and finding the way back. Keep up the good work.
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    2533 days ago
    Audra, I'm so sorry you had to go through so much this past year. You should be so proud of yourself for never giving up and keeping on keepin on!

    I definitely rediscovered eating my emotions away. Long story as to what was/is going on, but I think I'm finally ready to look my beast in the eye and do this again.

    It definitely is a day to day challenge but we can do this!
    2534 days ago
    Audra the amazing. I am so proud of you and everything you have accomplished. You will do it. emoticon
    2537 days ago
    So encouraging. Thanks for sharing your story!
    2538 days ago
  • AMY_1217
    Wow! I LOVE this blog! You are so amazingly inspirational. It makes me feel like I can take on the world! Thank you for that! And I'm glad you're back and ready to fight for that better life. :D
    2539 days ago
    Amazing blog! I'm so glad you have found your way again!
    2540 days ago
    emoticon for such an inspirational blog. I remember carrying a 50# bag of water softener salt down the basement stairs and how horrible I felt when I reached the bottom step. I then thought to myself..........You are carrying that amount of extra weight on your body all of the time!!!!! Think how good it felt to put down that bag of salt.......think how good it would feel to take off that 50#. Your blog was an excellent reminder.
    2540 days ago
    I love your new picture, Pretty Woman! You sound so strong, Girl! You are narrowing the gap between WHAT IT IS and WHAT IT CAN BE! I like that you're not waiting to's in the journey that the joy comes!
    2540 days ago
    Great job getting back here! Sorry the past year has been so hard. You are amazing and you can do it!
    2540 days ago
    Hooray, hooray, hooray! You've been through a tough spell. I'm so glad you're seeing some light and finding some joy. Keep it up! And I love the new picture you took of yourself!
    2540 days ago
    Thank you for sharing all was a great blog to read!

    I found it very inspiring & although I am going thru different issues, many are I found it personally very helpful.

    You sound like a strong person, much like myself, so I know we can do this. It just takes perseverance.


    2540 days ago
    I hope you feel better and wont need any more surgery wow what a year youve had...Weve been having alot of rain too so i know how you feel...Feel better..Love your page!
    2540 days ago
    You rock! You're back to you again! It's a nice switch to see! I am sooo proud of you! I'm printing this and hanging it up in my extra room so you're with me all the time!
    Love ya girl!
    (I went skydiving, rocky mtn climbing, 3.7 seconds on a bull named YOU'RE GONE WEIGHT!)
    You're amazing!
    2540 days ago
    You brought tears to my eyes!!! Thanks for sharing.. We are gonna excel during this coming BLS!! I just know it!! Keep up the great work and motivation! I am here if you ever need someone to talk to.

    2540 days ago
    Wow! great blog! When I had those 2 ft sergeries, in 4 yrs, and a certain med I was on, I packed on 30 pounds, It took me a few months with the sparkers to get to the right mindset that I,m in now. Its going slow, but its for life! Right On! Cherie
    2540 days ago
    "So unidentified demons – you are NOT going to drag me back there! I may not make the progress that I want, when I want it, but I’ll get there" I needed to ready this today!! You are an inspiration Audra!! Thank you for being an awesome leader! Thank you for sharing!! You Rock!! WE are going to Crush this weight down!!!
    2540 days ago
    You continue to inspire me!
    2541 days ago
    You are so special to so many people. Gaining can happen in a flash and leave our heads spinning. I also gained about 25# and still haven't gotten it of.But because of you and others I know I can and will not stop trying. Putting on packs of weight that has been lost is a real eye opener. That is one of most realistic things that BL does.
    Thank you for this blog. I wish you had time to blog more often.
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    Love ya bunches emoticon
    2541 days ago
    Very awesome blog Audra!

    I am so glad that you were able to pull yourself out of the hole. It is hard when we get buried with things but your determination shows that you are in this for life.

    I loved how you ended the blog with the realization with how much you have lost. Keep pushing on.....

    2541 days ago
    You're amazing!! Thanks you for your honesty... I KNOW you can do this!! Please blog more often, I'm sure I'm not the only one who is inspired by your journey. emoticon
    2541 days ago
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    2541 days ago
    I LOVE YOU!!! I love seeing you back on track, you can do this!! I am glad that things are SO much better! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2541 days ago
    love your blog .you can do this ..great job
    2541 days ago
  • BRDGT262
    You are so amazing!!! Carrying around those weights would definitely be an eye opener!! Great job on all the weight you did keep off! Even though you gained some back, you didn't gain it ALL back, you recognized what you were doing to yourself and you put your foot down and made a change! That is sooo hard to do! You will make it back down I just know it! You are strong!!! And you CAN and WILL do this, you have a great attitude, and I just know you will finish what you started!!! Congrats on turning your life back around!!! You got this!!!! :)
    2541 days ago
  • TONYA43
    Wow! What an inspiration. I too have put back on around 50 pounds. Thank you for sharing your story and for reminding me of the 40 pounds that is still off of me and for letting me know that I am not alone and that it is possible to get your spark back. LOL - I guess thank you for a lot of things!

    I wish you all the success in the world, but sounds like you are already on your way

    2541 days ago
    Love your blog post Audra! So happy to hear you are finding your way back! I've struggled too as you know and continue to altho have not given up. You are a strong woman and I know you can do anything you put your mind too. Put the past behind you and keep on sparking!


    2541 days ago
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