Hibernation Is Officially Over!

Testing…testing…is this thing on?

Any of you still with me?

Wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t…it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything here and in the blogging world that’s an inexcusable sin.

I want to start this thing up again…but not sure what direction to take it. I really do suck at talking about myself, as I have discovered from putting my resume together lately. (Which I will gladly forward to all willing to receive…this chick needs a J-O-B.) Finding something profound to discuss got harder and harder as the weeks went on…I felt like I was supposed to have a major epiphany every 7 days and when I didn’t I found I was just writing to write.

Blogging was such an incredible outlet for me when I did have a lot on the brain and I guess I just put myself under entirely too much pressure to have something amazing to report to you all once a week.

I’d love any input as to what you might like to see, or where you think I should go, or if I should continue. Maybe it will just be weight…maybe it will be recipes or could be a ‘Dear Abby’ type of thing…I dunno. (Help me here!)

What I do know is this…I fell off the wagon for a bit…like 20 pounds off the wagon…So far off the wagon that I justified going to buy bigger clothes to not be miserably suffocated in my own denim. I was angry about it. I was angry when the number started ticking back up….I was angry that so much of my hard work seemingly went to waste. When I stepped on the scale as it approached and then tipped over the 180-lb mark I got really scared. Seeing 180 might as well have been 199…In my head I was so close to 200 again that I thought I might have a panic attack on the spot.

So as I stood on that scale 5 months ago with 186.0 staring back at me, a little voice in the back of my head said “That’s it…I’m done. I’ve ruined every bit of effort I put forth before. All the hard work and struggle is for nothing and I am officially a total failure.” Mind you I was still down 60+ pounds but my poor brain didn’t see it that way.

But as I’m all up for trying new things these days…I decided to take the opposite approach. I decided to put my big girl (though not quite as big as they used to be) panties on and refocus. I hadn’t made it this far for nothing and I sure as hell wasn’t going to ever step foot in plus size store again. Given the option to keep eating like a barbarian and injure innocent bystanders because I was wearing jeans 4 sizes too small because of my promise to never put one foot in a size with a ‘W’ at the end, or suck it up, scrape the dirt off my knees and get my ass back in gear…well, for the FIRST time in my life, I got back up.  And boy am I glad I did!

Photo on the left was taken at the end of May...photo on the right was taken on Halloween.

Photo on the left was taken at the end of May…photo on the right was taken on Halloween.

I’ve now lost that boomerang weight plus some and am in the smallest size I’ve seen in my adult life. Sure I’ve weighed 161 before but I think I was 11 or 12 years old.

Ok not really, but I do honestly think I skipped from toddler size to an XL junior size to plus size without stopping.

So why come back now? Why come out of hibernation after a year to rant and rave about my weekly issues or triumphs?

Well…not really sure I have the answer to that yet except for the fact that I woke up this morning with a strong desire to bring this blog back from the dead.

I want to continue to encourage and help and inspire those that need it as so many of you have done for me on this journey.

And when I hit my goal, I want to share it with all of you. You’re the reason I started this blog to begin with…to hold me accountable…reprimand me when I’m bad and encourage me when I’ve done well.  I’m sorry I’ve put that accountability by the wayside.

I’ll start with the weight again next Friday. Whether or not you want to see it, it’s definitely something that helps hold me accountable (and requires me to keep my toes pedicured). If I know I’ve got to post a big photo of what the scale says for the world (or tens of readers) to see, then I’m a lot more likely to choose salad over a (gluten-free) cheeseburger.

As for full on blog posts…well, I’ll commit to at least one a week. Some may be short and sweet…some may be long. Some weeks I might have nothing to say, some weeks I might post daily. Who knows…I’ll just let it flow on its own.

As I mentioned earlier, if there are things you’d like me to discuss or questions you feel like I need to answer (i.e. Q: How many French fries does it take to gain 20 lbs back? A: Not that many), then by all means comment or shoot me an email or a text or something.

So here’s to reaching my goal and once and for all giving my pudge the pink slip!!

“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you’ve ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.” ~ Unknown

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I Ain’t Missin’ You At All

We have hit another milestone….

80 pounds!!! E-I-G-H-T-Y!!!!! (Well…80.2 actually.)

80 pounds of excess…fat…sadness. Gone.

And in honor of the title of this week, here’s a little background music for the rest of this post:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me in the last few weeks what I miss about my former non-diet conscious life. My response has simply been, “Nothing.” There is no food that I miss. There is no habit I wish I could revisit again. There is no part of my prior self that I would prefer over the new and improved current version.

This photo was taken the day after I started this blog.

I don’t miss feeling out of control every time I ate. Was this snack of 18 chips going to turn into an uncontrollable binge on 2 bags of Lays, a batch of cookies and a liter of Coke?

I don’t miss the feeling of self-hatred after I had eaten far more than I should have.

15 pounds lighter...

I don’t miss that feeling that food was my only true friend and the kindest, most supportive part of my life.

I don’t miss the way my jeans dug into my stomach leaving an indentation that would last hours on end, because I refused to accept the fact that I might need to buy a size 22.

Losing...slowly.

I don’t miss the popcorn and M&M’s that helped me to not feel so lonely. I begged and begged for them to fill the void but they never did.

I don’t miss wondering if invisibility would be more comfortable. No one could see how badly I’d let myself go if they couldn’t see me at all.

I don’t miss the way my legs chafed when I wore shorts.

30 pounds lighter.

I don’t miss watching other people laugh and dance and have a good time, wishing with all my might that I could be that free.

I don’t miss the staring and the ridicule.

I don’t miss the breakup of my stomach and my brain. Once they stopped speaking to each other I didn’t know when to stop eating.

35 pounds gone.

I don’t miss wondering if anyone would ever really love me for the person that I am, or if all they’d ever see is my muffin top.

I don’t miss worrying whether or not I was going to fit in the booth at a restaurant if the table was one of those that was super-glued to the wall.

I don’t miss the feeling of regret when I ran into someone I knew from high school and wondering if they were saying to themselves when I walked away, “Wow, she sure let herself go.”

50 pounds gone.

I don’t miss feeling like I could not succeed at anything.

I don’t miss crying in the morning when I had tried on everything in my closet and nothing fit correctly.

I don’t miss feeling like a failure to my family.

70 pounds gone.

I don’t miss having a belly that stuck out further than my boobs.

I don’t miss the pain in my knees every day because of the extra ‘me’ I was carrying around.

I don’t miss the fear that a photo of me was going to be tagged on Facebook.

I don’t miss the feeling that no one would ever want you unless you were a size 2.

75 pounds can kiss my ass...

I don’t miss the rejection.

I don’t miss the shame.

I don’t miss hating myself.

I don’t miss waiting.

And waiting…

And waiting…

Waiting for my life to begin.

Waiting for my time to start.

Waiting for my true self.

But she had been there all along.

I found her there waiting off to the side…waiting for me to let her in.

And unlike all the other things that I don’t miss, I had truly missed her.

But she is here to stay…

The new and improved version!

“There is no right path. Only the one that lets you sleep soundly and wake up excited.” 

~ Jennifer Louden

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

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

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