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

The Phantom of the Fat Girl

Down a little bit more…not as productive of a week as I would have liked, but as it was another week on the go, it could have been a lot worse.

 

For the last 14 months I have undoubtedly gone through some pretty significant physical changes.  Having lost almost 75 pounds, you can’t help but have changed a little bit.

But despite all the physical transformation I’ve gone through…despite the fact that I’ve dropped from a size 20 to a size 10…I still have a hard time seeing the new me occasionally.

I still compare myself to the Giselle’s of the world…to the Kate Upton’s. I wish for a flatter stomach and a firmer ass. I want toned arms and 1 chin…I want to look in the mirror and stop seeing fatter Hannah.

Don’t get me wrong…I do see very clearly that I’ve lost weight. But I don’t think I’m seeing myself as I presently am.

It’s like I’m on a 35 lb delay.  My brain still thinks I weight over 200 pounds.

 

Uhh, hello?!  What the hell? Where is the confidence I was guaranteed? Shouldn’t I be wearing a bikini for the first time in my life? Shouldn’t I be able to get dressed in the morning and leave the house in the first thing I pick out because there is no longer such a thing as an unflattering dress that makes me look like a refrigerator? Yeah…not so much.  To me, I look almost exactly the same. And yes, I’m still changing clothes 100 times. No bikini. On occasion, refrigerator status.

I’m putting on medium shirts and convincing myself that the sizes must have been manufactured incorrectly. My size 10 jeans fit comfortably and I’m telling myself that it’s just fluke.

How does one change that? I do I overcome the ideals of perfection thrown into my face daily by the media? How can I be proud of the fact that I’ve dropped my BMI 14 points (true story) instead of the regret that I don’t have the belly for a bikini? How do I get over the fear that every time I sit in a chair, it’s not going to buckle beneath me?

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The quality of that video is bad…but you get the idea!

 

Believe it or not, this distortion has an actual name:  ‘phantom fat.’  Apparently, after a person experiences weight loss, their perception of themselves can sometimes take its time to catch up to the body’s physical changes. Experts have compared it to the feeling of the phantom pains that amputees feel long after a limb is gone. Yes…I said experts. As in people-who-get-paid-to-analyze-the-brains-of-others agree with this distortion….I’m not crazy after all! (Ok…I guess that’s technically up for debate.)

Who would have thought that body image would be something I’d have to worry about once I got here? I figured my insecurities would vanish with the weight.

So now begins a new battle… I’m working on recalibrating my image of myself. Surrounding myself with positive people is certainly helping. People that don’t necessarily know the way I used to be, but see me as I am right now, and appreciate all that this person is. People that truly believe in my beauty, and not just in comparison to what I was…I am trusting the compliments for the first time in my life, instead of convincing myself that there’s some ulterior motive behind them.

But why put in all this work if I can’t see anything changing?

I know I’ve got to give it time. Staying on track towards my ideal and happy weight will help.  My brain will see and celebrate the new me eventually.

I also need to stop being unrealistic.  I’m not going to wake up tomorrow rocking the physique of a Victoria’s Secret model. Losing the weight won’t necessarily turn me into a stick thin, air brushed, Hollywood honey… No one is perfect. I’ve got to try to focus on an ideal that is realistic for me given the bones and genes I was born with.

I have come a long way mentally…it’s time I take a good hard look at myself and see the long way I’ve come physically too.

Years and years of beating myself up has left me numb to how mean I’ve been to myself…It’s high time I appreciate my body. Flaws and all…imperfections and all. It’s time for me to look into the mirror and say, “Damn, the new you is absolutely astounding.”

 

“Mirrors are perpetually deceitful. They lie and steal your true self. They reveal only what your mind believes it sees.” – Dee Remy

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