Say Yes To A Dress!

What a week!

Still hobbling around on an injured foot..I have transformed into a redhead..and the skin of on my limbs is coming off like a molting animal following a fun experience with 2nd degree sunburn following my trip to the beach.

I finally stopped being a slacker of a sister/maid of honor and made it to Charlotte to assist my sister in bridesmaid dress selection and to see her wedding gown.  All I can say is wow.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so beautiful, and I know it is only a fraction of the beauty she’ll have on her wedding day as she walks down aisle toward her sweet, sweet fiancé.  (Absolutely adore him and adore how happy he makes her.)

The bridesmaid dress selection was interesting…there was a beautiful array of dresses and I would have enjoyed the entire process much, much more if I was able to comfortably get into one of the samples.  I’m not sure why ‘sample dresses’ aren’t made created for an average size.  It’s significantly easier to clamp a size 12 onto a size 6 woman than to have a size 12 woman squeeze into a size 6 to attempt to get an idea of the perfect dress. It’s tough to find that perfect dress when you can’t breathe, the dress is hugging onto every inch of bulge you might have, and your back fat is gaping out of the zipper in the back. Well – that was my experience anyway.

I want to go to a store eventually and slip everything on like it was made for me. This I-think-I-can-fit-it-over-my-hips-slowly-without-ripping-the-fabric thing has got to go!  I even got stuck in one of the dresses. Thanks to my mom and the sales girl for freeing me from certain suffocation.

Speaking of the sales girl – I feel so sorry for her! In trying to get a better idea of the ‘fit’ of the dresses we liked the most, she offered to clamp the dress to my bra so I could at least see what it would look like (or try to see) without holding it up. Little did she know I would be shedding skin from my sunburn like I had the worst case of body dandruff ever, or that she’d be trying to figure out how to clamp the dress to my Aaaah Bra (afterall – my itty bitties don’t need underwire).  She claimed not to mind – but I wouldn’t be surprised if she requested to move to the tuxedo section as soon as I left.

After finding the dress I of course gave the store the answer that I’m sure many women give a dress shop when needing to be measured: “I’m planning on losing weight so when is the absolute latest date I can come in here to get measured?”

How many times have I made this promise to myself? I’ll lose weight before Thanksgiving 2008…didn’t happen.  I’ll lose weight before my 10-year reunion…didn’t happen. I’ll lose weight before summer 2009…and 2010…and 2011…didn’t happen.  I always come out of the gate with such gusto only to lose sight of my goal somewhere along the line…and what I had been striving to achieve doesn’t happen.

How do you stay on track when you’ve got a goal in sight? Whether it is weight loss related, or academically related or anything…I’d love for you to comment on how you keep your eyes on the prize.

Glad to say that I’m finally going the right direction…

 

My focus of late has been on reminding myself that I don’t want to be the embarrassment of my sister’s wedding photos. I don’t want to look through all of them and only like one of 200 because the rest show me from a horrendous angle. I’ve got to transform myself physically before May.  I adore my baby sister and want to do everything in my power to make every single aspect of that day perfect for her. I know she would never tell me I needed to drop a few, nor would she tell me I looked bad in a picture, but I owe it to her to match her beauty.  Or at least try…she’s stunning so I’ve got a lot to live up to!  I’m tired of standing out because I poke out.  Time to keep taking the bull by the horns and say I made it happen this time and my goal is complete.

“Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.”  ~Margaret Mead

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I Am Not Alone

I’ll get the ugly part out of the way first…another gain. Definitely time to refocus on the diet.

 

 

The next weigh-in will be different…and lower….I promise. (Headed to the beach next week and won’t have my scale, but will have a post.)

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Now…to this week’s topic…

I’ve had a few people in the last few weeks question why I do this blog.  Why I bitch week after week about my weight struggle. Why I post my weight for the world to see.  One person actually told me she was surprised I post a picture of the scale, and that I was glorifying being overweight, and that I needed to exhibit a bit more discretion.

Well first off…in case you were not aware, you are not forced to read this blog. It’s not shoved in your face as punishment.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I’m doing, but I certainly never expected to be chastised for opening up about something I’ve battled for most of my adult life.  If you think what I’m doing is stupid or immature or disgusting, then stop reading.  That simple.

Secondly, I am not attempting to glorify being overweight.  There is nothing glorious about my muffin top or my overeating.  There is nothing charming about weighing over 200 pounds or wearing plus sizes.  There is certainly nothing splendid about my cellulite or my poor self-image.

So why do I do this?

I write this blog not only to help myself, but to help others that might be struggling with the same thing.  Someone that might be fighting a weight battle or fighting a battle to be healthy.  Someone that might be struggling to find happiness in themselves when they look in the mirror.

I know what it’s like to feel like no one understands.  I know what it feels like to feel you’re fighting a battle on your own.  And I’m not just talking about food or weight…although it’s all sort of tied together for me.

As I have touched on in past posts, I have long struggled with depression.  It is quite well managed now, but I have certainly been through a serious roller coaster.

It all started in college. Off to school, not a care in the world, and certainly much more trusting of the world than I should have been.  I was happy…I was satisfied that I had graduated 6th in my class and was a freshman at UNC.  I was on top of the world…and that would soon come crashing down.

This next revelation is something that I believe I’ve only divulged to my sister.  The spring semester of my freshman year, I found myself as part of a frightening statistic.  I was the victim of date rape…I went out on a date.  I walked away from my drink, and ultimately paid the price for my lack of judgment.

No, I didn’t go to the police.  Yes, I felt at fault for the entire chain of events.  The aftermath and the emotional struggle that ensued sent me on a downward spiral in every aspect of my life that took years to overcome.  I fell into a deep depression and became extremely unmotivated.  I withdrew socially from those around me.  Since that horrifying incident in my life, I have discovered that the US Department of Justice says that one out of every four college women is the victim of date rape.  This statistic makes me sick to my stomach. It was an atrocious, disgusting crime that I kept inside.  This is the first time I have truly opened up about it in 10 years, because like many other women who fall victim to this crime, I blamed myself for its occurrence.

Hurting and embarrassed, I ate to suppress my feelings.  Food became my security blanket.  Food didn’t judge me or hurt me or leave me.  It became my safe place…and I went to it often.  I subsequently gained 60 pounds, which only fueled my self-hate and self-loathing.  Once on medication, the depression got better.  I sustained for a few years, and then felt like since I was feeling better, that I could stop taking anti-depressants.  You can guess what happened.

I continued on an up and down cycle for years.  I would stay in bed for days.  Depression ignited my overeating and overeating led to my depression.  I would cry for no reason, and then I would be on the biggest high for no reason.  I felt worthless.  I blamed myself for many things… being fat, being raped, not having my dream job.  I had even managed to blame myself for my great-grandfather’s death; Convincing myself that if I had called him like I was supposed to when my mom told me to, that he wouldn’t have died.  But since I got busy, karma fought back and he passed away.  I did things without any regard for consequences.  I had a hard time breaking through self-defeating dialogue I’d been replaying in my head since I was young…repeating over and over again if I messed something up that I was a “stupid ungrateful bitch.” That everything gone wrong was my fault.

I have been at the absolute bottom more than once.  It is a place that I hope to never go back to again.  It kills me to say that I know my darkest times have damaged more than myself.  I destroyed every ounce of trust with my family.  I temporarily devastated the relationship with my mom. I take full responsibility for the destruction.  I take full responsibility for the hurt and the pain I caused.  I have enormous amounts of regret when I reflect upon the turmoil that surrounded me a few years ago.  Depression has robbed me of a lot of things, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone through the depths of hell.  I’m thankful for my faith in God and constantly reminding myself that I would never be handed more than I could handle, even though at times I was not so sure.  I thank God every day for those amazing women that shared their stories and their struggles with me through 30 days of rehab, and helped me understand that others understood my pain.

I get emotional now as I type this, not because I’m embarrassed or upset about the things of my past. I am emotional because I have come so, so far from where I was, and I am so blessed.  I know now that there are no such things as failures, just different levels of success.

I want to be sure to mention one thing. The purpose of tonight’s post is not to gain sympathy.  I’m not writing any of this so you feel sorry for me. I’m not writing it to bring you down either. I’m writing this for the same reason I write about my weight loss struggle…so you know someone out there understands.

I have written all of this with a heavy heart.  I lost a friend from high school last week.  He unfortunately did not see that light at the end of the tunnel, and he succumbed to his struggle with depression.  He may have felt he was at that place I had been so many times…the place where you feel like no one comprehends your pain…no one comprehends your hurt and your despair. I wish I had reached out to him, I wish I had shared my story.  I wish I had portrayed to him how certain I was at one point that there was no way out – but there ultimately was.  I made it out.  Emotionally battered and bruised, I made it out.  And I made it out because I discovered I was not alone.

So why do I write this blog….because I can only hope that through sharing my stories and my struggles, not only tonight but in previous posts, that you know you are not alone either.

In memory of Scott McCreedy

12/2/81-7/22/11

“You can’t have rainbows without rain.”  – Unknown

 

 

Box Office Flop

Happy first week of June! My favorite month of the year…official start of summer. My birthday month. End of the fiscal year. Beach weather. My birthday month. 🙂

I had the displeasure of making a video of myself this week. Ugh…talk about a buzz kill. Video may have killed the radio star but it also killed my confidence.  (Hope to be able to share the reason for the video with you soon…don’t want to jinx myself.)

I have always had this weird quirk about my personality when it comes to people embarrassing themselves…often when they don’t mean to – but I cannot muster up enough courage to watch it…especially if I don’t know the person.  (I know – that’s so backwards.)  During American Idol I have to turn my head away from the television when someone sings – good or bad. During talent shows I have to hide my face I’m so anxious for the person auditioning. I don’t know what it is…it’s like I can feel their nerves. Sometimes I wonder if I’m more nervous than the person standing up there belting out a horrendous rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly”!

With that being said – when I have to watch myself on film, like I did this weekend, then forget it. I wanted to bury my head in the sand. I thought I had issues with myself in still shots…haha – you have no idea how bad it is in motion.  Voice doesn’t sound normal…and my appearance….Well – camera is not currently doing me any favors! Certainly wasn’t sitting there watching it play back thinking: “Damn, I’d shag me.”

Oh well…that’s what I’m here for, right?! To make baby steps to get to the point where I look amazing on screen…should I have the opportunity to get back on camera that is. Keep your fingers crossed!!! (Wink wink.)

So the scale….oh the scale. Four months in….and apparently we’re carrying the “baby step” theme right on through to the scale numbers. Down just a skosh…

Sorry – looks like I took this picture in dense fog…216.4 is the official number.

So glad that I picked the hottest week of my life to decide to set a goal to “start” working out….went for a walk a few days. No, wait…I didn’t walk for a few days – I went for a few walks….whatever – you get the point!  But this heat is craziness. I was sweating just thinking about walking outside and standing in the sun.

I did decide to bust out a little Shakeweight action this week….I can only imagine what that would have looked like on camera. I’m sure it would have been America’s Funniest Home Videos worthy. While it does look like the stupidest, most ignorant piece of exercise equipment on the market (2nd only to the Thighmaster of course) – I’m baffled to report that it actually works. (There’s a great how-to video on YouTube if you need it. Although the motion is pretty self explanatory.) And my torso is extremely sore.

Hold on…I just said my torso is sore…this is for arms…Ok, so very clearly I am doing it wrong. But it’s moving something around in there. Or just twisting it weird. Wow…I’ve always known I was uncoordinated…but too uncoordinated for a dumbbell you jiggle?! Only me!! 🙂

Week was relatively uneventful otherwise…Gluten is staying where it belongs…OUT of my digestive system. And I’ve had some great recipes again since the last post.  Alex at Natty’s outdid himself again…Fried Green Tomato (coated in cornstarch for a GF girl like me), topped with jalapeño pimento cheese, black eyed pea relish and a shrimp.  Delicious! This tasty morsel, ladies and gentleman, warranted a bigger mama slap than the pork belly!!

Love how this has started to turn into a GF food blog…oh well – at least I’m not gaining! So, Alex…and any other chef/cook that wants to make me their GF guinea pig – I welcome the challenge!!!  Bon appetit!

“A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.”  ~Author Unknown

Hospital Gown Couture

I’ve never been a follower of high fashion…but boy did I get the opportunity to sport one of the world’s finest garments over the weekend…got top-of-the-line evening wear called the hospital gown.

As if it isn’t enough that you already don’t feel well when you’re forced to wear one of these things…then you’re required to put on the most ungodly, unflattering piece of fabric ever invented. I am convinced that even Brooklyn Decker would look horrendous in a hospital gown. Surely whoever invented them never had to wear one.

I now know why everyone in the ER looks sick…put that awful spoiled, split-pea soup color on anyone and they’d look queasy. Couldn’t the gown at least be a pleasant color…a happy color? Something that doesn’t remind you of cafeteria vegetables or boogers?

Hospital gowns come in three sizes: short, shorter, and don’t bend over. I got to wear the third one…yes, the don’t bend over version. Who designed these things anyway? A doctor that got some kind of amusement out of seeing patients waddle around in socks and a pseudo-shirt with two strings in the back and their butts exposed?

Okay – I admit it – I’m modest. If I had wanted to be a stripper or taken up some other exotic profession, I would be doing it. However, I’m not – I’m a curvy woman who doesn’t like exposing her body to strange people – even in an emergency. I do not like having my rear end or anything else exposed and spent most of my time trying to make sure all points are secured just in case there is a windstorm in the hospital.

I guess the rear end needs to be easy to access in the event an emergency occurs, or an injection is needed…which it was…twice. Thankfully by a female nurse who subsequently got to hear my excuse for unshaven legs (she kept assuring me she’d seen worse) and dry, pale skin.

In an environment that is so stressful and serious, seeing patients walking around in comfy outfits would be an instant way to improve the mood a little…bedazzle them…cover them in Spongebob Squarepants or Strawberry Shortcake…something to not have everything so dull and depressing!

Side note: Having large arms sucks in a medical setting as well. On more than one occasion I had my left arm in a vice called the blood pressure cuff which was crushing what was left of my bicep. I pointed out to them that I thought I was being strangled by the blood pressure cuff but they assured me this was ‘normal’ (in whose world?)

I realize that medicine is a tough business – it is hard to meet and greet complete strangers and look at personal parts of their bodies – and not throw up sometimes. Or it must be hard on the nerves to work on people and do intimate things to them without acting scared or horrified that you’ve just cut the wrong thing for instance!

It’s probably not fun either to deal with sagging bodies, flatulent old ladies, and people who are terrified of having anyone do ‘things’ to their bodies – but come on. Dignity should start WAY before dying – we are not inanimate objects here. We are feeling, breathing people – we were before we came in to the ER.

The least some hoity, toity medical company could do is come up with something to wear that doesn’t make you feel like less of a human being. I think the fabric has got to be 100% Egyptian cotton…….or Italian linen would be nice….Armani, do you need a charity, honey?  Any type of garment with full coverage would be better. Make it like a comfortable pair of pajamas with conveniently placed access points. Hell, the lingerie industry has figured out the “easy access” concept. Even standard boxers have access. Shouldn’t be that difficult to create for a medical setting….Million dollar idea, perhaps?!

From the result on the scale this morning, there was at least less butt to expose! Finally lost more than an ounce or two!

And when this is all over…I WILL look like Brooklyn Decker in a hospital gown. Now if I could only get Andy Roddick to return my calls….

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” ~ Dolly Parton

Say Cheese!!!

They say the camera adds 10 pounds…guess I need to stop eating cameras. 🙂

Know one reason I want to be skinny? I want to have a spur of the moment picture taken and not be absolutely mortified after I see it. I absolutely hate having my picture taken. Well no, that’s not entirely true…I like having it taken, I HATE seeing the end result.  I’ve never thought of myself as a photogenic person…I can make a picture look ok if I hold my head the right way or tilt my chin at the perfect angle.

Seeing a photo of myself these days makes my self-esteem drop to the lowest level possible. I have a vision of what I feel like I look like…then I see that photo and it starts…the slew of insults I give myself: “You’ve got more chins than a Chinese phonebook! You look like you’ve got an intertube around your belly! Are you storing food for the winter?! You’re 3 times the size of the other people in the picture!” And so on…I know it sounds mean…I know it sounds awful…and it is.

I need to take a class in head angles…body position…the perfect smile. I can take 2 photos 30 seconds apart and look like a completely different person from one to the other.  See below…1st picture…squirrel cheeks…2nd picture…better cheek bones and only 1 chin.

Squirrel Cheeks at the finest!

30 seconds later...only one chin!

Why does it seem like such an act of God to look attractive in a photo?  Just to clarify, I am not comparing my photogenic ability (or lack of) to that of a magazine photo of a model. I know they’re so nipped and tucked and adjusted and photoshopped…I’m talking about real life people.  My family is quite photogenic.

I’ve always been so jealous of the rest of them…my sister is amazingly beautiful. You could take a picture of her in a sweat suit with leaves in her hair and she would look amazing. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a bad picture of her. EVER…step-sister is the same…beautiful from every angle. Cousins, aunts, uncles, dad and my mom especially…all so photogenic!  What happened to me?!  I’m not calling myself ugly…I’m calling myself awkward when there’s a camera around.

Just came across an article on the 9 steps to taking a good picture….I shall share with you.

1)      Being photogenic refers to the ability of appearing very attractive in photos.  – Well, duh! If I knew how to appear very attractive would I need to read the other eight?!

2)      Focus on what you’re wearing.– Guess naked or spandex isn’t a great choice for me right now.

3)      Mind your complexion and grooming.- Well you saw my eyebrows in the picture above…as for complexion…well, where’s that number for Proactiv?

4)      Keep your face in equilibrium. – If I knew what this was…I think the right side is bigger than the left…should I turn my head to the side?

5)      Work the angles. – 90 degree tilt?

6)      Get rid of a double chin.– Supposedly resting your tongue on the roof of your mouth helps with this…it makes me look like I’m choking.

7)      Focus on your posture. – This inevitably ends up looking like I’m contorting my body…and you can see the discomfort on my face.

8)      Relax.Translates to me looking high.

9)      Think happy thoughts.  – Having my picture taken does not lead to happy thoughts…it leads to panic…and nervousness.

 Perhaps I’m being too critical. I do feel like I’ve got an above average appearance – but also feel I am automatically discounted due to my robust size. As if wearing a double-digit size automatically makes me less smart or less capable than my svelte counterparts. It shouldn’t be all about outer appearance…but for someone who has struggled so much with the negative internal dialogue, I’m ready to look at a picture of myself and be satisfied.

If I’m going to get to that point though, I have to refocus. I’m struggling with concentration. Diet has been all over the place the last week. Same with the exercise….I think I can, I think I can….still went down a little.

I will not let myself stop moving forward.  Still having a hard time with the planning part. Seems like I need to get back into checklist world again to get myself started…My focus has apparently been on Spring Break…school is back in session. On the syllabus this week – getting under 230.

“I’m not overweight. I’m just nine inches too short.” ~ Shelley Winters