Celebra-She-On!!!

By all accounts I should consider this a really crappy week….

1)      For starters, my beloved Dallas Cowboys lost in the most horrendous, stupid, ridiculous fashion yesterday. Dumb. Just dumb…”Let’s employ really poor time management skills and instead we’ll kick a field goal from here to the South Pole, and after we miss it, we’ll let our defensive guys completely lay down on the field and not do their job. How does that sound, guys?!”

2)      As if the Cowboys loss wasn’t bad enough yesterday – it’s only a blip on the radar compared to my UNC loss the day before. There is no love like the love I have for my Tarheels.  There was a lot of yelling at the TV…even managed to cuss out a poor sweet soul who innocently called me before the game was over. Again…just dumb.

3)      To mimic the inabilities of both my favorite teams – my fantasy football team also sucked ass yesterday.  For those that don’t know how competitive I am, watch out if you’re ever matched up against me. I am mean. I am a smack talker. I am brutal when it comes to winning…and even more so if there’s a monetary prize on the line.  My relaxing Sundays filled with NFL games have now turned into Sundays of high blood pressure and 4-letter tirades. I LOVE it when I’m winning…but when I’m losing…I will warn you now: earmuffs

4)      To top all of this off with sprinkles and a cherry – I found out Friday that my position at work is being eliminated. So, after 2.5 years there, I will be unemployed as of December 11th. I had a sneaking suspicion that the restructure was coming…just didn’t know when and was certainly hoping it wouldn’t be before Christmas. Merry Christmas to me!

And I hear it’s a fabulous job market…not. I don’t know a lot about one thing, but I do know a little about a lot of things – and that’s tough to convey on my resume unfortunately. I’d love suggestions on what my next career path should be: private chef, teacher, nurse, clown?

So given my week of losing and termination, I really should be down in the dumps…I should be sad and dejected…I should be angry at the world. But I’m not. “Why?” might you ask?

Well look who picked a fabulous week to cross a milestone she hasn’t hit in over 9 years?!!!

2-4-6-8 – who’s the chick that’s losing weight? It’s me!!

Oh yeah that’s right! Under 200!!! Woot woot!

I want to thank you all again for your continued support. Whether via a text message or email or comment or in person…the encouragement you all have given me the last 10 months is priceless. Thank you for continuing to remind me that I’m not doing all of this just to entertain myself at a later date.

I came across a picture of myself from Thanksgiving last year. Decided to put it next to a picture from Thanksgiving this year.  It’s amazing how much less swollen I look. Haven’t done any before and after pics…well here’s your first installment…what a difference a year makes:

Here is Thanksgiving 2010 vs. Thanksgiving 2011 – the Royal version. (My sweet cousin, Mary Kate, crowns me the queen of every family holiday…yes, that’s right. I’m kind of a big deal.)

I know there are still more pounds to go, but I can’t help but be proud of myself in this moment. Can’t help but look at how far I’ve come and how baggy my “starter” clothes are.  I didn’t let the stupid humdrum crap happening around me get me down. I let what I have done build me up.  Who am I right now?! I’ve never been that way! I feel like I could take on the world.

I continue to be shocked by my own personal growth every day.  For the first time in my ENTIRE life (no lie…entire life), I looked in the mirror and actually liked what I saw. I had to stand there for a second and take it all in. It’s as if I was seeing myself for the first time…understanding myself for the first time. I liked the girl I saw staring back at me.  I couldn’t look away.  I actually think this girl is pretty cute…and pretty awesome…and has another pretty amazing milestone to cross next week!  Stay tuned….

“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”  – Muhammad Ali

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Six Months

Six months ago I was a different person…

Six months ago, every single thing I ate sat like a lead balloon in my gullet.

Six months ago, everything I ate also was subsequently returned in violent fashion to the porcelain throne.

Six months ago, eating resulted in such ungodly pain in my side that I’m now convinced I know what the pain of an AK-47 shot to the flank feels like.

Six months ago, even eating one bite led to such extreme stomach distention, you’d think I was mocking Violet from Willy Wonka without the delicious grape color.

Six months ago, the pain in my joints was so severe I was only able to function on a daily basis with a fabulous cocktail of muscle relaxers and painkillers.

Six months ago, my skin was so blotchy and itchy I was starting to believe that I was allergic to fresh air.

Six months ago, my skin was so dry that soaking in a tub for an hour barely moisturized the top layer.

Six months ago, I was so irritable I didn’t even want to be around myself.

Six months ago, I had yet another person tell me they couldn’t find anything wrong with me and after 11 years of issues, it must absolutely be in my head.

Six months ago, I was at the end of my rope.

Six months ago, I met the doctor that changed my life.

Six months ago I was introduced to Celiac Disease…

Happy 6-Month Anniversary to my diagnosis!  Never thought hearing my doctor say, “You have an autoimmune disease” would turn out to be such a blessing.

I never imagined feeling this amazing. I never imagined feeling this healthy or this complete. I never imagined waking up each and every day and having no fear that eating breakfast was going to leave me doubled over in pain for hours.  I never imagined a life free of bloat and tummy troubles.

And I most certainly never imagined being out of the 200’s…so, so close!

 

Thinking back six months – I certainly never expected to still be moving in the right direction with my weight loss or my overall physical and mental transformation.  Six months ago I expected to fail as I had every other time.

Six months have changed my life….

The road has not always been smooth or flat. The path to enlightenment has not always been clearly marked. There are times when it seemed I was moving away from who I am much more than moving toward what I want to be.

Six months have changed my life….

Many have ventured on this journey before me. Many have faced obstacles of health, physical impairment or mental reluctance. All have faced the same fear and uncertainty that I face every day.

Six months have changed my life….

These last six months have taught me that the blessing isn’t that I find my way to the finish line….it’s that I had the courage to start.

 

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

What Not to Wear

Peek into any woman’s closet, and buried underneath all the clothes is something that almost every woman hangs onto. She strives to wear it again someday, no matter how unrealistic or out of style it may be. What is it?…”Skinny” jeans!

Whether yours take the form of pants, swimwear or even an old suit or dress, women and men alike keep these too-small clothes for years. Some are even brand new, tags attached, bought as inspiration to lose weight so that garment would fit.

I must confess that up until last week, I, too, had my own little accumulation of one-day-I-will-fit-into-these-again outfits. So in an effort to save my own sanity, I decided to do a little closet cleansing.  I did get rid of a few things that have become too big (yay!!) and also had to come to grips that it would be best to get rid of some of my extremely skinny clothes for right now too.  While my original thought was that seeing those reminder-of-a-skinnier-me items would motivate me to get back into them, I’ve found that for the most part it’s having the opposite effect….Why? Well keep reading and I’ll tell you…

They have become a constant reminder that I am not at my “ideal” size. While it may have seemed initially motivating, seeing those beautiful little garments of demin have begun to lead me down a destructive path to lower self-esteem and self-worth.  It’s almost as if they are mocking me with their stupid single-digit size. “Haha you can’t wear me! Look who’s too chubby now!”  Seeing them hanging there is a reminder of what used to be, what I let go, what I fight like hell to get to again. Granted I know I’ll be in that size again, I just don’t need to be mocked daily by Mr. Levi on my way there.

Keeping clothes from yesterday is a symptom of living in the past. Only after I let go of the past can I learn to accept myself in the present with self-confidence and a sense of empowerment. (And besides, it was about time to ditch the fraternity mixer shirt from 2001…as comfy as it might have become, I’m not quite the 19 year old sorority girl anymore.)

Your skinny clothes may not be in style anyway.  As much as I hate to admit it, among the piles of clothes that were packed up and delivered to Goodwill – were a pair of…wait for it…wait for it…Tapered, pleated pants – aka the mom jeans. Ahhhhhhh! I know…just the thought of it frightens me as well! Aside from mullets, stirrup pants, and side ponytails there was never a more horrid crime to fashion than the tapered leg pant. You give me one person that looked good in them and I’ll give you $100. Heidi Klum would even look like Rosie O’Donnell in these things.  Moral of this story: Getting back in those skinny pants would have been an offense of humanity and fashion.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

When your skinny jeans don’t fit, you can feel like a failure, even when you’re making real progress. I’d occasionally try them on…just to see if they were a little less tight. And if I still got that stuck-around-my-thighs-cutting-off-my-circulation result then I’d convince myself that I wasn’t getting any smaller. Blasphemy! I’ve lost 34 pounds…I’m in a smaller size. I will not let a restrictive pair of pants keep making me feel like a failure.

And yes…I am now officially at 34 pounds lost!

 

 

I will not allow the size of my clothes to determine my self-worth and neither should you!  Clothing size is just a number…and whatever that number is will not define me.

Today, I encourage you to open your closets and drawers. Gather everything that doesn’t fit you TODAY, especially clothes that are too small. Free yourself from the past and the silent criticism of your skinny jeans once and for all!

 

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  ~Mary Engelbreit

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

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