December 13, 2012

Redemption Run, and Other Interesting Notes on Weight Loss

Holy cow. Apparently I wrote this post almost 5 months ago. And since my "redemption run" has come and gone, I figured I would update anyone interested in my progress.

I have lost 43lbs since May 1.

Since the top question is, "omg, how'd you do it?" I will indulge. Short answer: I worked my effing ass off. Literally and figuratively. As mentioned in the previous blog, working out a few days a week with my BFF Jillian Michaels. And, to train for this redemption run, I used the 5k Runner app 3 days a week. I counted my calories using My Fitness Pal. None of these companies paid me, but I love love love them for what they did to help me on this journey. So yes, it really is that simple. Calories in calories out, and move your ass. So why don't people succeed every day? Well there's a whole mess of reasons for that.

What They Don't Tell You:

The hardest part of losing weight is finding the reason you have kept it on to begin with. For me, the turning point came that day of the Warrior Dash (see last post). I never wanted to feel that way again. That was my rock bottom. Deciding to lose weight parallels a decision to stop drinking or stop doing drugs. No one can make the decision for you, and until you really get to the bottom of why you do it and decide to CHANGE YOUR LIFE, nothing is going to change.

It is an emotional roller coaster. At least it was for me. To see yourself changing, to realize where you were, to know how far you have to go, it is a lot to process. You have to say goodbye to someone you knew for decades. You have to break up with the person you were and the habits that kept you there. In order to do that, you have to constantly motivate yourself by reflecting on why you made the decision to change your life.
There were days that I would wake up and expect to see that fat person staring back at me. And there were days when I would stare at myself, amazed at the new person that I saw. There were times I was so mad at myself for abusing my body for so long. I would think about all I missed out on because I was scared and insecure. There were days I didn't know if I could keep this new lifestyle up. I would cry listening to Jillian Michaels podcats, because there were so many people who were living a part of my story, and they were the only ones who got it. As if the inner struggle you have with yourself  isn't enough, there are a million other obstacles that will stand in your way.

Not everyone is going to be happy for you. Yeah, it sucks but it is a reality you have to face. I am BLESSED to have an amazing family who supported me because they knew how important this was to me. They ate the healthy food I made, they understood that making time for my health was my number one priority. My youngest sister did let me know that I could stand to talk a little less about running, but it was done out of love and a desire to get back to our discussions of Ru Paul's Drag Race. :) But there are always people around you that aren't so excited. That say "oh, live a little," when you turn down a donut. They announce "oh look, she's eating a piece of candy!!" when you indulge. Imagine what their response would be if you yelled across the office "oh look, she is eating ANOTHER chili dog!!" Not really the same, eh? So as hard as it is, you have to let it roll. Making healthy choices is your new life and you don't have to explain that to anyone. When they decide they want to do the same, they can stop being miserable and catty and they can suck it up. :) (Ok, maybe I don't always let it roll) I have some amazing and supportive friends who have supported me, and for them I am grateful. (there, less bitchy)

It's going to require effort, every day. Everything that is important does. Because I cut out so much processed crap, I have to plan and make meals all week. Stopping through a drive through usually isn't an option. Ordering at restaurants can be tricky. But once you navigate through that long enough, it becomes second nature. And you can even sneak the healthier options into group settings and unless you say something, people rarely know the difference. (I use greek yogurt at a substitute for all SORTS of things!) And, when it's really dark in the winter... getting up to work out SUCKS. And running in the cold is close to insanity. But because you understand the value, and because your body craves it- you get it done and work it out.

Once you start to really live the change, you can inspire others. I never had the intention of doing that. But to know that someone made changes in their life, no matter how big or small, because they saw that you could do it. Well, that's really freaking amazing and it feels really great.

So now you are rewarded with photos

This is me October 2011. Not the heaviest point I reached,  but the last time I let a full body shot be taken as that person.

Here is me end of May 2012 (about 10/15 pounds down) and August 2012,  at about the 30 pound mark. I put that shirt on expecting to be able to wear it, and promptly started sobbing when it fit like a dress.

Here is me being a LADY and getting amped up for the Dirty Girl Mud Run. For the record, my face didn't stay that way.

Here is me being a ridiculously photogenic runner.
This is the face of someone elated by reaching her goal. So proud of the person she  is becoming, and so grateful for the journey, no matter how rocky and muddy it was.

So now what? Why, more mud runs of course! Spartan Sprint February 9th, and OF COURSE I will have to tackle the Warrior Dash April 13. And, a few fun themed 5 ks in between.

Let me tell you. Having been on both sides of this, it is AMAZING to actually like the person you are. To feel comfortable in your skin. To not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and get a little dirty. To know that you are stronger than you ever thought you could be. It is worth every sacrifice to get to where you want to be. Trust me. 

July 9, 2012

Put Your Mind To It, Go For It, Get Down And Break a Sweat

I can trace the beginning of the struggle with weight back to around 6th grade. My grandfather, with the intention of complimenting me, mentioned what a catch I'd be with my "birthing hips." Yup. Birthing hips.It's ok, you can laugh. I do now.Throughout middle school, I was always conscious that my body shape was curvier than other girls. Even though I was active in dance, I still didn't feel that I had the right shape.This continued through high school, and as a senior I finally succumbed to the pressures of my first crash diet.

Like most girls, once college came, I packed on what I had worked off. And then some... And then some... and by Junior year I was the heaviest I ever was. I found this out on a trip to Campus Health, were I was diagnosed with Mono. Which, as Romy and Michelle can attest, really is the best diet ever. I continued to yo-yo through my early 20s. Always losing and gaining the same 15-20 lbs. I had a number that I would reach as a warning sign... and each time I'd gain weight back, the "oh shit!!" number would get higher.

Two years ago I decided that I would get my act together. I had been laid off, so I had plenty of free time on my hands to work out and get healthy. I was in great shape, and once I got back into the swing of my new job, the comfort of a live in boyfriend (we are all familiar with "love weight"), and then the stress/depression of realizing that this new job was a nightmare, the weight crept back on. This time, I would take drastic measures to take that pesky weight off. In April of 2011, I did HCG. Yup, I woke up every morning and I stuck a needle in my stomach. I ate rabbit food with no dressings, oils, or fun. But, man did I drop that weight. :)

Surprise, the weight came back and brought some of his friends! That type of strict diet is nearly impossible to maintain. Add in a (new) high stress job with 60 hr weeks and lunches on the go, it is easy to quickly become a fatty. So I said goodbye to that job (with some guidance of my boss who told me the trial hire wasn't really working out) and I was depressed again at the idea of finding a new job. The motivation to work out wasn't there, and instead I focused on found love of the Ghost Whisperer. Once a new (and awesome) job was found, I tried to get back into the swing of things by doing what I had always done: setting weight loss goals based on events.

Goal one was for Halloween. A goal I had made numerous times before, so I could fit in with the other girls and be a slutty bunny, or a slutty mouse or a slutty nun, etc. I failed. Goal two was for New Year's. I failed.Goal three was for an upcoming trip to Vegas to see a friend's band perform... partial success. I was motivated by the fact that I was 5 lbs under the heaviest I have ever been in my life. So with moderate work outs, and a strict diet I dropped 10lbs, but couldn't get my act together for more.

I had become reclusive. I didn't want to go out because I didn't want people to see me.  When I was finally convinced I had to, there were three outfits I would rotate that I felt comfortable in. But then I was so insecure. I would try to sit to look skinnier. If people hadn't seen me for awhile, I wondered if they were thinking about how much weight I had gained. If people were meeting me for the first time, I wondered if they saw me as the fat girl.I would see girls and wonder if they were thinking "was she that fat when she met her boyfriend, or has she let herself go?" Cmon, you've wondered it about people before, I know I have. I'd dread seeing Facebook the days following an event, because there was sure to be an unflattering photo that I would rush to detag. And then eat my feelings in the form of nachos.

Rock bottom finally happened April 28. It was the day of the Warrior Dash, a muddy 5k that I had told my friends I would participate in, and I had every intention of using as my motivation to train and lose weight. Only I never signed up. And I never trained. When we found out that one of my friends was pregnant as wasn't able to participate, I jumped at the opportunity to use the excuse that someone had to be there with her as a spectator. The day of the run came, and I felt like a loser. People heavier than I was were chugging along. Couples were running through obstacles holding each other's hands. My friends and my boyfriend were feeling victorious. And I felt like an insecure, lazy piece of shit.

That's when I decided to really get my act together. When I decided that before I turned 30, I wanted to stop being the fat friend. I wanted to stop worrying about cropping photos, about posing the right way. I wanted to feel comfortable going out and spending time having fun, because that was the person I really was. The person that had been hidden by insecurity and blubber.

I broke my two weight loss goals up by events (old habits die hard). I wanted to lose 18 lbs by my cousin's wedding on June 9. And I wanted to lose another 12 by my trip to Vegas for my 30th birthday at the end of June. I was up at 530 am working out every day. I was eating right, eliminating processed crap and starches and taking care of myself. During this time, my 4.5 year relationship came to an end. Instead of using it as another excuse to give up, I pushed through. To be honest, the new physical and mental strength I had kept me going when I wanted to completely shut down. But I knew I couldn't give up; I didn't want to start another decade of my life not liking the physical person that I was.

I passed goal one by 6lbs, 3 days early. I was elated. For about 12 hours. The day after I found out I had dropped over 20lbs, I had one of my worst workouts because I woke up still feeling like I had so far to go. It was so hard to congratulate myself on everything I had worked for. As the days came closer to Vegas, I stayed off the scale. I had started to plateau, and I didn't want to discourage myself with the number not moving. I felt more confident. I felt stronger, and I looked better. My clothes fit better. I was able to spend time with my friends and be the fun loving person I really am. I was able to hang out at the pool without my cover up. And when my sister posted the photos to Facebook, I didn't make her crop every single one.

2 weeks later I was able to push through the plateau, and I am just a few pounds away from a number set I haven't seen in 5 years. Am I where I want to be yet? No, but I am working towards it. Taking care of myself is a priority, and the only person who can get me where I need to be is me. If you want something bad enough, you stop the excuses. You don't hit snooze. You don't say tomorrow. You get up and you get moving. Because no one else is going to do it for you. Unless, of course, you're a puppet with strings.

So, this November I am staying true to a new promise I made to my Warrior Dash friend. I AM GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DIRTY GIRL 5K MUD RUN. Because by then, I'll be supermodel status. ;) 
I will continue to be on track with my healthy life, because I care enough about myself to never get back to that point. I will never go back to allowing how I felt about my physical person affect how my internal person behaved.

But now- I've got to get some cardio in. Thank you for indulging me.

tl;dr: I struggled with weight for 15 years until I reached rock bottom. I got my ass in shape (literally) because I didn't want to start a new decade hating what I saw in the mirror. If you feel that way- get up. Only you can do it.