Victorious!

Happy weekend, my faithful followers!

I have 2 major victories to share…

First victory…I now only have 4 pounds to go to hit my century mark. (Huge relief not to have gained this week.)

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Now for the second…

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have long struggled with a Compulsive Overeating Disorder. The initial stages took hold my junior year in college, and a few episodes have still managed to crop up every few years.

I’ve gotten control over the worst binges and truly believe that having to eat gluten free has assisted with that.  I can no longer indulge in 3 value meals at McD’s and after reading a few articles on the chemicals in microwave popcorn, I no longer eat 6 bags at a time. As many times as I did it and with as much crap as there was in the weird powdery butter (Extra Butter flavor was my poison) I’m surprised I haven’t sprouted an extra limb or suffered from major cognitive impairment. (The popcorn binge is my most vivid memory as it happened over and over again.)

Please don’t get me wrong. I still have my moments, and I most definitely have my triggers.

My ‘episodes’, as I’ll call them, never started out with the intent to eat ridiculous amounts. Typically I’d see a commercial or a sign or smell something that made me think of a particular food I wanted. The second that desire for that food popped into my mind, it became an absolute obsession.  I’d snack on something else, still focused on that original craving…I’d watch TV, still focused on that original craving…I’d go eat a full-fledged meal with others, still focused on that original craving. The only way to make the focus stop was to give in and get whatever it was I couldn’t stop thinking about. And relieving that obsession always turned into an uncontrollable binge.

In the past, I could get away with my calorie marathons because I could hide them. I lived alone or was in the car alone with time to dispose of the evidence. Fortunately, since Allen didn’t travel much for work, and especially since he and I were laid off, we are together 100% of the day which I love for a number of reasons…1) I hate being apart, 2) I’m a worry wart and run thru a myriad of worst-case scenarios when we’re not together (you can thank the driving ineptitude of Florida residents for that), 3) Being together and dining together means I don’t have my binge/hide opportunities.

Sure it sounds childish for me to feel like I have a chaperone on my eating excursions…but I’m not at a point where I totally trust myself.

I boredom eat, I emotional eat, I stress eat, I happy eat, I hungry eat, I looks-like-it’s-close-to-lunchtime-so-I-should-eat eat and I unfortunately still over eat.

The last few weeks have been full of stress. We are moving in 3-4 days and the thought of packing up everything and hauling it and 2 cars 8.5 hours north is doing a number on my anxiety level.  Couple that with moving to a new city (although I couldn’t be more excited about living there), trying to find a new job, Allen trying to find a new job, Christmas-time, trying to find a house, and trying to maintain the weight I’ve lost, and I just about want to declare myself temporarily insane.

So naturally…well, not naturally, but historically speaking, I want to eat. And eat some more.  Thank goodness for my trusty sidekick for keeping me in line.

But this morning…I was alone…in the car…and the thought of Chick-Fil-A fries entered my mind. And I wanted them.

I’d thought about them when I got in the car. Went to get my nails done…with the yelling and whispering of a language I cannot comprehend all around me while I sat their being pampered, I thought about them some more. I decided to make a trip to Home Depot for trash bags, but the smell of sawdust and paint did little to curb my hunger.  All I could do was focus on that waffle-y goodness.

I tried to see if Allen was done with his appointment…called a few people…tried to create some type of diversion, some type of sign that would make me let the urge go. Nothing was working.

I knew I was in trouble…I knew this meant 2 things. That I was giving in to that uncontrollable, suffocating urge that I’ve fought so long to cope with…and that I was getting ready to potentially eat this and act as if I hadn’t, planning to have lunch with my better half soon after. Binging and hiding it…I was headed down a slippery slope.

So I drove 4.5 miles out of the way to give in to my desire. I pulled in the parking lot…it was 11:30, which typically means that Chick-Fil-A is a chaotic mess of soccer moms and hungry workers on their lunch break. I made a silent deal with myself that if the line was long, I would go home…It wasn’t. I think I picked the 4-second window of time in the history of this location that a wrap-around line was not present. Shit…what was I going to do now?

I pulled behind the 2 cars that were waiting and prepared to order something. Damn I was hungry…and my brain proceeded to run a thousand miles a minute: Could I mask the grease smell if I ate them in the car? Would one order be enough? Surely I’d need 2 to make sure the craving was satisfied. What kind of sauce do I want? Will they be salty enough? Is there anything else I need to order? Wait…what was that sound?

As I was close to my time to order, I heard a weird noise. A strange metal dragging on the ground noise. Was it my car? Crap. What should I do? Fear ran through my whole body…what if I break down in the drive-thru line…at CFA…at lunch hour! How would I explain to Allen that I was sitting there deciding between BBQ and Polynesian sauce when the automobile crapped-out.  (Turns out it was the bizarre music choice of the car behind me that was causing my panic.)

And it was at that moment that I felt like I woke up from a dream. Like the hypnosis had worn off and I was ‘present’ again.

What the hell was I doing in the drive-thru lane? Two orders of French fries aren’t going to get me to my 100-lb weight loss goal by the end of the year and giving in to the worst part of myself was not the way to overcome my most embarrassing struggle.

So I simply drove away and the fanatical desire ceased….completely.

With no French fries came no guilt…no disgust…no sadness…no anger at myself for giving in…no standing in the mirror crying because I knew I’d certainly gain weight after eating 2 lunches (though claiming to have had 1)…no hiding…no binging…no embarrassment.

It may have been a struggle…it may have been fought till the 11th hour (thank goodness for overly loud dubstep)…but a win in the final minute is still a win.

I finally had a ‘W’ in my win column. I emerged victorious over the ‘obsessive thoughts lead to binge’ battle for the first time EVER… And while I know many battles make up a war, I am incredibly proud of my buzzer beater.

 

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

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Winds of Change

There is change coming….

There is a new chapter beginning….

This once introverted, girl who despised herself is making the journey of a lifetime this week.

In just a few short days, I will be moving to Miami. Far from the NC life I am so used to and so comfortable with… Far from the comfort of my family…Far from familiarity.

But I could not be more excited!  While this relocation is partially due to work, South Florida has also led me to love, and I am taking a leap of faith and following my heart 700 miles south.  I am ready for this incredible new adventure. I am ready to show the world what I’m made of and I am most certainly ready to rock the bathing suit on a more frequent basis.

I have grown so much in the last 14 months. Old Hannah certainly wouldn’t have been able to take on such uncertainty. New Hannah is accepting it with open arms.

Needless to say, my mind still continues to have its own insecurities into how other people view me.  I always wonder whether my own biases and perceptions are ones that other people have.  I question whether I’m doing all of this to prove something to myself or to prove something to the world.

I’ve decided to create a new mantra for myself…create a new creed. In honor of my ‘new chapter’ I’ve created my new rules to live by:

1.  I will not think badly about myself when I look in the mirror. – Magazine images aren’t real. Photoshop has destroyed my perception of beautiful.

This is real…and this is beautiful:

(My god, what’s wrong with me?! I just posted a picture of myself in a bathing suit….if that isn’t change then I don’t know what is!)

 

2. I will not judge someone without recognizing the journey they are on first. – I originally started this blog as a way hold my fat self-accountable…to preach to the world that that just because I’m overweight doesn’t mean I am an awful person or lazy or a failure.  Along the way, I’ve been honored when people tell me that I motivate or inspire them, and I’m humbled to know that I might have put words to their pain, their struggle, or their journey.

 

3.  I will not let someone else’s judgment of me change how I feel about myself.  –  I do it because i can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t.

 

4.  Find the good.-  Consider every day an opportunity to live, laugh, learn and love. While many walk around with the world on their shoulders, choose to be different. Choose to be the exception. Choose fun. Choose to find the lesson. Choose happiness. Choose to be that person.

 

5.  I dictate how I feel about myself, not the scale.  – My weight loss has certainly slowed over the last few weeks…but mentally, I feel better than ever!  It’s about persistence, not perfection.

 

6.  I am on this journey because of the courage I had when I took the first step. – Had it not been for the pudgy girl that found her way along this journey, I wouldn’t be the thinner girl I am today. I owe the world to the 248lb version of Hannah that survived the pain and survived the heartache. She came out strong enough to say, “This is the last time…time to make it happen.” She is my hero.

The next time you hear from me I’ll be in a new place…with new people…and a newfound outlook on life. This euphoria has been 29.92 years in the making…and this happiness isn’t changing anytime soon! This is my time…

Pudge has just about gotten her pink slip….and it feels incredible!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”   ~ Maria Robinson

Old Hannah vs. New Hannah

I’m baaaaaaack.

A bit of time in Miami had me distracted from my typical posts…but no fear! I am here again.

If it weren’t for the blonde hair, I might not have looked like such a tourist. Ok I lie…the blonde hair was just the start…the fact that my accent turns heads and my Spanish vocabulary consists of only the words gracias, burrito and cerveza doesn’t help either.  With that being said, a southern accent takes you a long way in a place like Miami!

My Happy Place...I stayed 100 yards from here.

Covering a territory from Baltimore to South Beach certainly does have its benefits every once in a while. Despite being there for work related reasons, the trip was amazing, the weather even more amazing, and the company even more amazing than that.

I am now addicted to Cuban food and likely have mojito running through my veins. I dream of 100% humidity and palm trees. That turquoise ocean, that powder white sand…that climate….I was definitely in paradise. But unfortunately, I ate a ton while I was there. And by ton, I mean that I ate enough to send Jenny Craig off the side of the nearest bridge. Not having a kitchen, not being 100% familiar with my surroundings, and late nights at the office made for bad choices on the menu.

I did, however, manage to not completely unravel my progress though….

Not a ton of momentum in the last 2 weeks…but hell, it’s not a gain!

And while in the land of beautiful people…where butt implants and boob jobs are offered at 2 for 1 deals…I discovered how much different I am.

Old Hannah would have been afraid to go to South Beach…to go outside her comfort zone. New Hannah grabbed it by the balls and relished in every second of it.

Old Hannah lacked even the smallest amount of confidence when she walked into a room full of strangers. New Hannah (although sometimes needing some reassurance) put on her strappy 3-inch sandals and strut her stuff right through the crowd.

Old Hannah trusted few and let her guard down for even fewer. New Hannah has learned to trust again.

Old Hannah had little faith in her ability to accomplish anything. New Hannah is 71% of the way to her goal.

Old Hannah felt weak and worthless. New Hannah knows how incredibly strong she is. And how incredibly worthy she is as well.

Old Hannah struggled to feel normal after every meal. New Hannah lives proudly and successfully with Celiac Disease…and has never felt better!

Old Hannah was a size 20. New Hannah is a size 10.

Old Hannah ate when she was emotional, bored, sad, or happy. New Hannah eats when she’s hungry.

Old Hannah settled for far less than the best. New Hannah is starting to uncover the best. And she will have it.

Old Hannah was broken and battered. New Hannah is strong and secure.

Old Hannah was worried about things that were beyond her control…Things that would keep her up at night. New Hannah knows that anything that comes her way will never be more than she can handle…one day at a time.

Old Hannah hid under the covers, dreading what each day would put in front of her. New Hannah wakes up every day with a smile on her face.

Old Hannah was told she was just a pretty face. New Hannah knows she is sooooo much more than that.

Old Hannah let minor setbacks affect her for days or weeks at a time. New Hannah deals with them and moves on.

Old Hannah let her life pass her by. New Hannah is making it count.

Old Hannah thought she knew what happiness was. New Hannah knows her lifetime of divine, complete happiness is only beginning…

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”  ~ Carl Jung

Listen to the Tim’s…

Have you missed me?! A computer crash topped off by a million other issues unfortunately left me silent last week.  No fear…I’m back and better than ever!  As in “Let’s celebrate the next major milestone” better!

70 pounds gone! 70 pounds of hatred, self destruction and self-sabotage gone! 70 pounds of depression and negativity out the window! My mind is in a better place than it’s ever been, but unfortunately this week, my heart is hurting….

In the last few days I have had two unfortunate examples of our inevitable mortality. I am relieved to say that I did not lose anyone, but the reminder that life as we know it can change in an instant has been all too in my face over the last few days.

The two situations could not be more different…One an 85 year old, walking encyclopedia who happens the most gentle, most chivalrous man I have ever known. He is the biggest role model in my life and he is also my grandfather…my Poppy Doc.

 

The other is a 32 year old wife and mother who has fought the most courageous battle with cancer. She has held her head high, she has never given up hope and she is one of the most selfless, inspirational people I’ve ever met.

Though the circumstances are different…they both have sent my mind into a whirlwind. I inevitably started thinking about the way I’d been living my life. Was I doing everything I could everyday? Was I finally living my life the right way?

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” 

– Pope Paul VI

Only so many tomorrows….kind of gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

Living in the moment led me to do a lot of things I wouldn’t have otherwise done. Living in the moment led me down a path of personal annihilation. With no regard for my desire for ‘tomorrow’, I ignored my needs for far too long.

Living should be done with purpose…with conviction.  Tim McGraw sang it with his “Live Like You Were Dying” ballad…Tim Robbins said it in Shawshank Redemption: “You better get busy living or get busy dying.”

So listen to the Tim’s!

Do It Now:  There is no better time than the present. This very moment. Start living your better life now.  Whatever it is…exercising, no more smoking, saving yourself from an abusive relationship, rekindling a friendship, telling that special someone that you love them…whatever you can do to put yourself in a better place, do it. Don’t wait…there are only so many tomorrows.

Seize the Opportunity: Take these opportunities when they appear. Don’t live your life with regrets. Don’t look back and wish you had taken that job or gone on that vacation. Don’t keep your feelings for your loved ones to yourself. Find your happiness. Believe that being joyful is worth it and do what it takes to get yourself there. The little things in your life can make a big difference. Taking some risks can pay off…but you never know unless you try…seize it now….there are only so many tomorrows.

Hold Onto It: Whatever you do…Never Give Up. “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

My success at this whole weight loss thing has proven this theory to me. I didn’t give up and I still have no plan to.  Keep pushing…keep your head held high through the most difficult of circumstances. The road may be a treacherous one…but the finish line is worth the journey even if you can’t see that now. Don’t stop short….keep going today…there are only so many tomorrows.

Know Thyself: You must know yourself inside and out. You must know what makes you happy…what makes you feel beautiful and complete…what makes you feel loved…and you must find your way to these things. I know too many people who simply don’t know themselves, and I was one of these people not that long ago.

After all this time pursuing my own self-discovery, I have ‘discovered’ that it is more about being comfortable with who you are rather than discovering what you actually are. In doing so you will, as I have, accept who you are, what you are and where you are.

This, my friends, is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I have discovered my ideal life…the ideal life that makes me happy when I wake up in the morning, and leaves me fulfilled when I lay my head on the pillow at night. This is an ideal life that I choose for myself, not one dictated by society or others’ opinions.

I am finally being true to myself…I am finally living my life with purpose and not just by accident.

At the end of the day, your life will be what you make of it. We come into this world with our genetics, our family and our personalities…we leave with our legacy.

Who knows what our impact will be. Who knows what we will leave behind for generations to follow. We have this one life…this one chance to leave no stone unturned. This one opportunity to make our time on Earth worth every minute.

Make it count now..Do It. Seize It. Hold Onto It. Know it….

For there are only so many tomorrows….

 

Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours.

– Swedish Proverb

What Is…Not What If

Ok guys…I apologize for the late blog post! The last 48 hours have been a real-life version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I have managed to travel across most of the eastern seaboard (some of which was not planned), so I am a tad behind.

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of watching my precious cousin, Mary Kate, in a gymnastics tournament.  This thing was insane! As a girl who can hardly find the ability to focus at a 3-ring circus, seeing boys and girls of all ages flipping around all over the place in the coliseum put my brain into overdrive.  Mary Kate did an incredible job of course! (She and her sister are exceptionally talented.) She’s a ball of energy with the most graceful hand movements I’ve ever seen. At 6 years old, the girl is so fit she’d make Jillian Michaels jealous.

While I was sitting there watching her, I started thinking…what if I had not begged my parents to let me quit gymnastics when I was in 3rd grade? What if I had continued all that strength training into my teenage years? Would I have eventually gotten up that stupid, tortuous looking rope that hangs from the ceiling of every gym in the country? If I had toughed out all those days flipping around everywhere, pulling myself up on the uneven bars, and perfecting my balance would I still have become an overweight kid?

And of course, as it always does, my brain started down the path of thinking about all the other ‘what ifs’ in my life…

What if I had focused a little more in college? Would I be a pediatric hematologist now?

What if I had not walked away from my drink that night? Would I still have found myself as a date rape statistic?

What if I had tried a little harder? Would my marriage still have fallen apart?

What if, at 6 years old, I hadn’t felt like I had to choose someone’s side when my parents got divorced? Would I have not had such a chip on my shoulder towards my dad and made it a little easier for us to get along growing up?

What if I had not found comfort and security in eating to make myself feel better. Would I have still suffered from the compulsive overeating disorder?

What if I had called Daddy George like I was supposed to when he had his surgery? Would I still have had a difficult time getting over his death?

What if I had turned my back when the red flags started popping up in a previous relationship? Would I have saved myself from eventual abuse?

What if I had learned to love myself at a young age? Would I have still suffered from such a deep, debilitating depression for so many years?

Over the last few days I’ve been running through those thoughts over and over. And then while I was sitting on the plane tonight, it hit me….

What if I hadn’t gone through those things? What if I hadn’t hit my rock bottom?

Then I wouldn’t be the quirky, sometimes crazy, strong-willed, kind-hearted, absolute firecracker of a person that I am today.

The me that I love today is the same me that is a product of those battles. I don’t want to know what might have been anymore. I want to focus on what is.

With that being said, what if I had not posted that abysmal 248 pound starting weight a year ago? Would I still have lost  65.2 pounds?!

So enough with what if-ing things that I cannot change! It’s time to celebrate the person that all those negative, regrettable things helped to create….because what I am now…what my life is now…is worth hanging onto.

“Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” ~ Henry Kissinger