Food ≠ Happiness

So you think food is going to make you happy?

It won’t, you know. I chased the happiness I was hoping it would bring for years and years…only to find myself exponentially more miserable each time.

The idea that those M&M’s, those bags of popcorn or that cheeseburger and French fries is going to make you happy…it’s all absurd.  Crazy as I tried to tell myself it was…I was still searching for it. That magnificent moment when that milk chocolate grazed past my lips or that first salty crunch of a French fry dipped in crimson ketchup.
But it is each time as it always was… a short-lived moment of euphoria… there and gone in the blink of an eye.  The next day, all that’s left is ridiculous guilt. Mounting, suffocating guilt…along with the salty sludge floating around in my system.

 
Where did this come from? Where did I get the notion that food would make me happy. That food would take away all the hurt or despair I was dealing with. That food would fix what was wrong. Food was there to comfort me when I was down…it never turned its back on me…or so I thought. In essence the very thing that I was turning to, was destroying everything at the same time.
But this thought that food equals happiness has put too many of us in a place that we never wanted to be.

A place where we’ve lost control. A place where it’s much easier to keep giving in to temptation than to change what we know every time we look in the mirror is broken.

I know what it feels like to say over and over again “This ends today!” only to blow every semblance of a structured eating plan later in the same day. It’s a truly disheartening feeling that always leaves you discouraged.

I finally feel as if I’ve made it over that hump. The hump that doesn’t leave me running for the closest bag of potato chips when I’ve had a bad day at work or I’m bored out of my mind on a Saturday afternoon. I finally feel emotionally disconnected from the food I’m putting in my mouth. It’s not a filler or a substitute for my happiness. Learning to separate the emotion from the eating will get you over that hump too.

Disconnecting my association between eating and happiness has certainly helped me get this far…

 

Please don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy good food…hell I love good food. But it is not eating it that makes me happy. It’s having control over all of it that makes me happy.  And as far as ‘good’ food goes…I’m redefining “good”. I’m eating with my head now instead of absent-mindedly, robotically shoving things into my mouth.  It’s been near impossible to change almost 30 years of bad habits, but changing them I have.

I could give you a thousand and one weight-loss tips but until you do a little spring cleaning upstairs… I seriously doubt you’ll have the kind of success that you’re looking for.

Food won’t make you happy in the end.

Feeling good makes you happy.

Feeling good about yourself makes you happy.

Being healthy and fit and strong makes you happy.

And you deserve to be happy.

 

“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.” ~ Norman Lear

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I Have Fallen In Love…

What an incredible weight loss week!!!

 

I can’t even remember the last time I was this low. Insane!!  Feeling so incredible lately….so content with me. This has certainly not been just about a journey to shrink my dress size…this has become the journey to find me…and to love everything that I stand for.

And to continue the good news…ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to report that I have fallen in complete and total love…

I’ve always been skeptical. Always convinced I’d never find ‘that feeling.’ I dreamed for the day when I could finally announce to the world that I am head over heels.

This person is absolutely incredible inside and out.

They’re honest and smart…a great friend and co-worker.

This person is compassionate and understanding…a fantastic listener.

They have an incredible sense of humor and an absolute zest for life.

This person is strong-willed and level-headed….secure and confident…nurturing and trustworthy.

This person is attractive and assertive.

They have come back from some really tough times to be the astonishing, fantastic person that they are today.

This person is more than wonderful…and completely irreplaceable.

They have strong family values…and they are loyal to a fault.

This person is optimistic and joyful…finding a positive spin in even a seemingly horrible situation.

I wish I had found this person earlier in life….I wish I had shared this incredible feeling with them years and years ago.

I need this person…making this person happy is my ultimate goal, and I will no longer spend one moment doing anything differently.

This person…this incredible, gorgeous, marvelous person…

Is the person staring back at me when I look in the mirror.

“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” ~ Veronica A. Shoffstall

Try It On For Size

So I was standing there a few weeks ago…in one of my least favorite places….the dressing room.  While in there – I took a few minutes to reflect on my surroundings.

That small 4×4 space always made me hate myself after stepping inside. The mirror mocked me…the lighting brought out my most unappealing dimples…and the dressing room attendant (is that even the proper term?!) with his shifty eyes, mocking my size selection and secretly scoffing to himself that there’s no way my ass was going to fit into those jeans. I avoided the dressing room if at all possible.

Now that 98% of my wardrobe is too big. (Trust me, I am not complaining at all.) – I had to visit my least favorite little room.  I decided to grab a few ‘safe’ things, and also got a few things I was convinced there was no way I’d look decent in. As it always seems to turn out, I take 6 things in…and maybe 1 works.  Well the tides, they are a turnin’! My safe things looked frumpy and my stretch things looked fantastic!

Now, instead of wanting to impale myself on the closest clothes rack, I’m stuck checking out my own ass in the 3-sided mirror. Instead of wanting to run to the closest shelf of sweatshirts to cover my bulge, I’m relishing in the fact that the clothing I’m trying on does not have X’s in the size. I get excited about trying on clothes now. Excited about experimenting with things I’d never considered wearing before. (Loving the skinny jeans with boots-look currently….which you couldn’t have paid me to go out in public in last year.)  Every time I’m in there I start singing to myself and yes…there is a little booty shaking that ensues as well…my new ‘try on clothes’ theme song:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I may look like a complete fool…but I’m feeling great! This new-found confidence is pretty kick ass! And you know what else is kick ass?!  My scale result this morning!

I was not expecting this at all! Had definitely psyched myself out to see a higher number.  Being without my scale for 2 weeks left me feeling a little out of control because I couldn’t monitor my progress/regression.  That proved to be a lot of worrying for nothing.  I’ve got this eating thing under control. I’ve got this focus thing under control. Now I’ve just got to trust myself…and get back in that dressing room to test out some smaller pants…

“Life is like a mirror…we get the best results when we smile at it.” –Unknown

Wake Up!

First off – so sorry for no post last night. I’ve apparently still got Eggnog brain (actually…no I don’t…eggnog disgusts me)…so take two: I’ve apparently still got sugar plum brain and didn’t even realize that yesterday was Monday. Oops.

With that being said, I hope that all of you had an amazing Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa or whatever else you might celebrate. I hope you received everything you asked for.

Santa left me with a few extra presents that I didn’t ask for…one being a little of his big round belly. Thanks for the poundage, Kris Kringle! Next year you’re getting celery sticks and not cookies.

 

He also left me with a weird attitude. The right side of my brain is the new-found positive me. The left side of my brain is the old negative, condescending me. Why?!  I thought the left side was gone. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to sleep in my own bed on Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s because I gained a little bit of weight. Who knows…I just wish it would go. This negativity scares me. I’ll catch myself questioning whether or not I’ve truly made any progress. What the hell am I talking about? I’ve lost 50 pounds. Way, way more than I’ve ever lost at one time in my life. Why do I question my progress? Why do I discount myself? Why do I feel less beautiful today than I did a week ago?

Maybe my focus waned a little bit over the holiday and my fear of reverting back to my old ways is allowing some of this negativity in. I’ve got to wake up and stay focused on me. This whole journey is about me. This roller coaster ride of life is taking its toll. I’ve got to wake up and focus on what this is all about. I’ve got to wake up and focus on how far I’ve come. I’ve got to wake up and focus on the continuing to make progress. I cannot stop now. Wake up, Hannah.

Wake up.

There’s a new day waiting for me and it’s passing me by while I lay under the covers until the last minute every morning, wishing the world would go away. But the world’s not going anywhere. The world always keeps turning, it’s always spinning…the world doesn’t care if it continues to move with me or without me.  I’ve been in the dark so long that the world has just about forgotten all about me. Maybe it’s time to make it remember.

It’s time to get up and start moving.

Time to move toward my dreams. Time to move toward the life I know I want and deserve. I’ve wasted day after day, year after year, but it just doesn’t matter. Yesterday is gone, and today is right here, so bright and beautiful and full of possibility but…

My life gets in the way. I’ve got deadlines and responsibilities. I’ve got conference calls and reports. I’ve got sales tracking and inventory inquiries. I don’t have enough time to get everything done.

But wait…
Do I really think I’m the only one with deadlines and responsibilities, pressures and complications?

Sure, life is hectic, hectic, hectic, and there’s never enough time to do everything.  But, there’s always enough time to do the most important thing, and right now the most important thing is for me to GET UP.

Get up and start moving.

Get up and start living.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself so long that I think that’s how I’m destined to feel.

Of course my life could be so much better.

So I’ve got to make it better.

It is within me to grab the reins of my life and take control. I have started to do so for the last 50 pounds. I cannot and will not stop now. There is still half the journey left to go. No, it won’t be easy. Did I honestly expect it would be? But I know it will be worth it. I know that this isn’t where I want to be, where I am meant to be.

I can lie where I am, feeling sorry for myself or I can get up and make something out of this beautiful day. I didn’t get where I am overnight, and it won’t get better in a matter of days… but it will get better. I know in my heart of hearts it will get better.

 

I’ve been hiding under the covers for far too long.

 

It’s time for me to wake up.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Joe Lewis

Walk On Water

I’ve always been of the belief regardless of your specific spirituality that it is sometimes hard to deny that there is a divine power. A higher being of some sort watching over all of us.

Being a person that is so nerded out in the science world, having things happen that I can’t explain really throws my brain into a complete tizzy.  As much as I want to believe that there has to be a scientific explanation for everything, I know this isn’t always the case. While I might have a hard time wrapping my mind around it…I know there are many occurrences that can be explained only as something heavenly or godlike.

I had one of those Tim Tebow-esque interventions last week…

It was Tuesday afternoon. I was in my car, stuck in random mid-afternoon traffic, feeling the initial tinges of road rage creep up as I got frustrated with sitting through the same stop light one too many times.  The fear of my impending unemployment was extremely heavy on my mind.  Stressful thoughts were firing one after the other: Right now is a horrible time to be searching for a job.  What path do I take? What direction do I go? Is it time to go back to school? Do I follow my passion and pursue a medical career? Do I take a safe route? What about money? What about insurance? Will I lose my ground? Will I lose my faith in myself if I can’t find something right away?

A wave of emotion rushed over me as I sat there. I felt defeated. I felt myself going backwards 10 steps in that moment and didn’t know what else to do but sit there at that red light as my mascara started to creep down my face.

The radio had already been turned up…I was listening to K-LOVE. Partly because there had been commercials on all the local stations it seemed like and partly because I thought I’d explode if I heard another Katy Perry song that hour.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the songs that were on…my brain was too busy pumping me full of fear of the unknown.  But then a song came on that I’d never heard before, and my mind stopped running 100 miles an hour…so I listened.

I didn’t know who was singing the song or even the title of it…but the chorus hit me in the stomach like a ton of bricks:

When you take that first step into the unknown
You know that He won’t let you go

So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities, they try to alter you
But you know you’re made for more, so don’t be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes, and you can walk on the water, too

“Walk on Water” by Britt Nicole

Here’s the whole song in case you want to listen – the lyrics are on the video…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The song’s message and the moment it was played can be explained by nothing other than divine intervention.  I had to pull over I was so moved and blown away by what had just taken place. And when the song ended, I wiped my tears. Put a smile on my face, and drove away knowing that no matter what happens to me, I have faith in my ability to handle it, I have faith in my ability to face it, and I will no longer afraid to move.  This feeling that I’ve had about myself over the last few weeks (aside from my minor breakdown at the intersection) has been me walking on water.

I got home and my entire week turned around…which is purely coincidence I’m sure…

I got fantastic news that afternoon…I entered a contest a few months ago sponsored by Jovial Foods, makers of amazing GF pasta. Contestants were required to submit their favorite food memory. Entries would be narrowed down by Jovial the first week of December to 15 finalists, and then the ‘general public’ would vote on their favorite of those finalists. The person with the most votes after the voting closes on December 20th wins an all-expenses paid trip to Italy!!! And if that isn’t enough, there will be cooking lessons alongside my most favorite GF chef and author of all time: Gluten-Free Girl.   I wrote about my sweet Grandmommy and her swimming spaghetti, and found out after I got home that I’m one of the finalists!!! One of the 15!!!! Can you believe it?!   And so I need your help now! Please go to https://www.facebook.com/jovialfoods and ‘Like’ their page…then click on ‘Vote Now’ on the left-hand side – click the link to vote, and then scroll down to the bottom. Please vote!! If you deem my memory your favorite, please take a second and vote for me…I’ve got a lot of ground to make up and would thoroughly appreciate your help!

As if that news wasn’t amazing enough…it didn’t stop there…

My position was being eliminated because one of us was not needed in every single market. In lieu of 1 or more per market, the company was consolidating to 1 per region…my region being the Southeast.  I interviewed for this new regional position, hoping that there might be some chance that I wouldn’t have to be unemployed after all.  Well, my loyal blog followers, I am happy to say that after 2.5 years of hard work, I got the promotion, and got the regional job. Yay! I no longer have to stress (at least not right now) about all the things that I fret over at the stoplight. I am relieved. I am grateful. And most importantly, I am proud of myself and the name I’ve made for myself within the company thus far.

But no…that’s not it either…my week got even better this morning….

Pudge has a lot less pudge now!  I am officially down over 50 pounds!!!!!! 50 pounds – are you serious?! Me?! The girl that has failed at a million diets and attempts at weight loss in her lifetime? The girl who thought so little of herself that she didn’t feel like she deserved to be happy or healthy? The girl who refused to look at herself in the mirror for fear of taking her level of disgust to a new high?  The girl who so many times in her life didn’t feel like fighting anymore?

Yes, this girl. This girl is now happy. This girl is now on her way to being healthy. This girl now thinks she’s beautiful and amazing. This girl now can’t help but stare at herself in the mirror and admire how fantastic she’s beginning to look.  This girl has never been more in love with herself.  This girl has overcome the depths of hell. This girl has overcome her eating disorder. This girl has proved the naysayers wrong. This girl has conquered her fears and overcome her demons. This girl is walking on water.

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”  – Voltaire