Be selfish. It’s good for you.

The last few months have been a bit weird. I’ve struggled a lot with the weight loss, a lot with my concentration and motivation. I’ve been emotionally uneasy and feel as though that fluctuates as easily as my weight. Things were spiraling out of control quickly. Time to talk to mama.

There is nothing that kicks your ass quite like a conversation with your mom. Of course…I’m biased, but my mom is built for motivational conversations. She said something to me that shocked me and solved so many problems. “You have got to start being selfish with your health. I understand you give and give and give, and you worry about what everyone else is doing. But you have to worry about you at some point.”

After that I started focusing a lot on what I was eating, when and how much I was working out, along with what I was cooking, what I was buying to snack on. My entire focus changed. It’s amazing how selfish you need to be at times. How often you have to say “no” when you want to say “yes”. You’re going to hurt peoples feelings and create uneasy situations by doing things that are good for you. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s really hard to say “no” sometimes. You want to hang out, have a good time, not stress when you’re with your friends. If your friends aren’t worried about what they’re putting in their mouth, why should you? The truth is that you should. It shouldn’t consume you, but it should be there.

On this path to selfishness…I realized that there was something I wanted to do. I was intimidated, scared, felt out of place, ignorant. But I was getting stronger, I was lifting more, and the thought of competing drove me crazy. It was something I started to crave, which drove me even more. And then it happened.

A buddy of mine wanted me to come watch a strongman competition at the end of the month. As sad as I was I couldn’t make it I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could do that? I mean…right? So I say to my buddy “I’d love to do this.” She says “You totally could. They’re just flipping tires and deadlifting cars.” She said this sarcastically of course because the strongman competition is no joke. So…I decided yes, yes I can.

I’m now keeping in mind when I train that this time next year I want to enter this strongman competition. I don’t care about winning, I just want to complete it. This is the first real goal I’ve set that hasn’t been weight loss related. So…here we go folks. Go heavy or go home.

Bad decisions happen to everyone.

I planned it. I knew I was going to do it. I knew it was wrong. I knew I’d be ashamed. But…I did it anyways.

I left early to go to the gym one morning last week. Before you applaud…I left 30 minutes earlier than I had to because I went to Hardee’s. I got a biscuit. There were hashbrowns. And a Coke. I knew I shouldn’t have it. I knew how it would make me feel and I stopped anyways. I agonized over it in line, felt ashamed while I was eating, incredibly guilty after. Still made that decision. Stuck with it.

I’ve analyzed my food decisions since I can remember. I am so aware of what’s healthy for me, what upsets my digestive system, what I should avoid at all costs. I would say 80% of the time I’m so good about staying on par. I like to eat with my friends, I don’t shy away from  having a drink with company. These things I don’t feel bad about at all. But I still sneak bad decisions. And I don’t tell anyone about them. It’s like a dirty secret. So now I’m putting it public.

For those of you who make time-to-time bad decisions and feel guilty…I understand. What’s important is owning those decisions and not pretending as though they never happened. The more you own them, the more you realize you don’t want them to be your decisions any more.

Food addiction is real. I know people laugh at the idea…and I’m in no way comparing it to someone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs. It has it’s own place in the addiction spectrum. But people who suffer true food addiction know what it’s like. You think about where you’re going to get that secret food you’ve longed for, and how you’re going to do it with no one there because you don’t want anyone knowing that you’re eating it. It’s hard to break that habit without a lot of support and people keeping you honest. I’m thankful to have that.

This weekend I got pink eye. At the same time I had an issue with cold sores due to a lowered immune system from stress and aforementioned pink eye. I was so out of my mind. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin….like I didn’t belong there. I felt ugly, I felt embarrassed, I felt all of these things that are trigger emotions for me wanting to eat. So I did what any 30 year old does. I called my mama. I told her everything…how I wanted to cram a bunch of chips down, I wanted to eat so bad and give my diet the middle finger. I felt deceived by my body. I was working out and treating it right. Giving it tons of water and protein and it let me down. Let all of these things happen to my face, made me feel like a monster. Made me self-aware. With all her knowledge and wisdom, knowing me the way she does she said, “Don’t you dare think of doing any of that. I’m eyes on you all day, even from at work. Stick with it.”

I did.

 

The dreaded plateau.

strong2

We’ve all heard about it. It’s been one of everyone’s favorite weight loss tips to us….forever.

“Don’t get discouraged when you plateau.”

“Oh you’ve lost 15 pounds? You’re going to plateau.”

“Sometimes people plateau for six months.”

“It’s okay, plateauing is natural for everyone.”

Have you hit one before? On one now? I am. I dropped 30 pounds like it was nothing over 3 months…and now I’ve been bouncing inbetween the same five pounds for the same amount of time. Now I can feel my body start to change and I feel as though I’m edging out of it. Unfortunately all of those things are true. It is natural, it can last a long time, it normally happens to everyone at least once during a long weight loss journey, even if it only lasts for two weeks. Here are some things to remember while you’re traveling along your plateau.

1. Don’t give up or think you’re done. This is a JOURNEY. Not an overnight occurrence. This plateau will pass just as those first pounds did.

2. Do not go into overdrive. Don’t eat a ton less and workout a ton more. Make sure you are eating at a caloric defecit (if you want to lose) and make sure you’re following your plan (if you are on one). It will break on its own in time. You don’t want to throw your body into a tailspin that is not maintainable. The goal of losing the weight in a healthy manner is to make sure this is a lifelong change and in order to do that you have to be realistic about what you can do not just for the next month, but next five years.

3. Change up your workout routine. Don’t allow your muscles to get bored or complacent.

4. Lift weights. I cannot stress this enough. It doesn’t have to be heavy, you don’t have to break any records. Lifting weights speeds up your metabolism and aids greatly in weight loss. It’s also good for your body to have muscle to rely on and strength training is important to your overall health. My biggest pet peeve as a female is hearing “Ew, I don’t want to lift weights because I’ll look like a man.” No, no you won’t. I power lift and I don’t look like a man. I know several beautiful ladies who lift heavy and consistently and don’t look like men. Find something you’re comfortable with, find a weight that works and build a routine.

5. Eyes forward.

6. Instead of focusing on the scales, try focusing on NSVs (Non-scale victories) for a few weeks. Did you turn down cake for fresh fruit? Right it down. Did you finally get those skinny jeans on? Celebrate. I just recently went from a size 24 swimsuit to a 16. Huge NSV for me. Celebrate all of that. Those scales only tell you numbers and sometimes they don’t matter.

7. Set physical goals. Make sure they are attainable. I have a lot of times set goals that were too far from my reach and I ended up discouraged. Want to do a pull-up? Shoot for one, then five. Jog through a whole song without stopping. Park far away from the store entrance every day for two weeks. These things will make you realize how much stronger and healthier you are getting, along with keeping you on track with healthy goals.

Keep in mind. I’m not a doctor. Always check before you change or do anything that is out of the norm for you. I’m just sharing what I have found works for me.

Happy losing! (Or plateauing!)

 

 

It’s life folks.

I have a lot of people ask me what ‘clicked’ that made weight loss and fitness possible for me this time around. I normally chalked it up to “it’s time.” But after someone reached out to me needing help, a more viable answer, something to hold on to. So I dug a little deeper and found the real reason why, for me, this has been possible.

I have struggled with weight a lot in my life. 20 lbs, 50 lbs, 100 lbs over. Various times, sometimes I cared…other times, I didn’t. That’s the truth. I always viewed it as this big challenge that required so much more strength and thought, it was a COMPLETELY different mindset than my daily one, and once that mindset gave out the pounds game back on.

I’ve been through some shit in my life. Not complaining, made me who I am and all of that cliché stuff. My mom? Been through more. And on top of everything is now dealing with displacement from a fire. I search relentlessly for advice to give her and my stepdad. I don’t like to give advice to people unless I have been through that or something similar. I have never had to go through what they’re going through, and so I’m lost for words. Until I realized that I have weight loss advice to give one of my readers that asked, and maybe…my parents can take something from it too.

I have always been a believer that it’s not what happens to you that matters as much as how you handle it. I am not saying that is the case for 100% of situations, some things are much too tragic. But in most situations I remember who I am and what’s important to me in my core…

Loyalty. Stay loyal to yourself. Stay loyal to people who have always been there, that support you. You do not have to maintain loyalty to people you question constantly. Self-loyalty is the most important. Don’t let yourself down, be nice to you. You deserve it. Make promises to yourself and keep them. You are just as important as other people you make promises to.

Honesty. Obviously. Don’t be afraid of it. If you have a bad day, you’ve stuffed your face with chocolate, you had too many glasses of wine, you picked chips instead of apples…own it. Be honest about it, to yourself. Don’t make excuses. Yep, you made that choice. You don’t have to make it again. Or if you, make it in 90 days. Not tomorrow.

Compassion. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. As much as I don’t want that, I also don’t want people to look at me in disgust. I know how heavy I am, I’m responsible for being this way, but I’m not a disgusting human being. I have a problem with putting food down and I’m learning to love my body and make it a priority. So your “She needs to lay off the pizza” looks don’t help. So what’s in the middle of pity and disgust? Compassion. Feel this for people around you. You don’t need to understand how or why they’re going through whatever situation they are, you just need to show them a little compassion when they need it. Show yourself the same when you’re having a rough day.

Perseverance. Life sucks so bad some times. And you’re never going to get to a period where at least a few things don’t suck at any given point. It could be something small, something catastrophic. Put your head down and keep going. If you let something stop you then that event becomes “What ruined my life.” Wouldn’t it be better to be “What I went through, and here I am?” Granted, there are unspeakable things that this does not apply to. But a lot of what life throws at you…you should throw right back.

Realism. Last one, and one of the most important. It is so important to be realistic in all situations. Really sit down and think about how this should play out. Yeah, you’re going to have “cheat days”. You’re not going to feel like going to the gym. Something is going to happen and you’re going to stress eat at least one more time in your life. You’re going to get sad at some point, feel down. That’s OKAY. PLEASE BELIEVE THAT IT’S OKAY. You are human. That’s all, just a human with feelings and emotions and thoughts and habits. Don’t beat yourself up over nothing. As long as you remain in overall control, a slip up is not the end of your world. Don’t ever lose sight of what matters. You matter. Your family and friends matter. Be realistic about your situation…fantasy is a hard thing to wrap your hands around.

I realized that things that are important to me in my every day life, are also important to me in weight loss and the reason I have been successful this time around. So to my mom, while I can’t give you advice from an honest place because I’ve never been there…I can give advice about something completely different in the hopes you gain something from it. You’re my biggest supporter, my greatest fan, and have championed me my whole life. I hope that this gives you a little motivation and encouragement because you are loved beyond belief.

I dropped an extra.

zen

I love this quote. I lived like this for a long time. I kept thinking that I would always have next week to start my diet, tomorrow to stop smoking, I’d go work out in a bit. Then I realized I was passing up all of these opportunities to better myself, I also thought there would be more time. Then I realized if I kept putting it off….there would be no more time.

So to the lady who dubbed me as an XXL at the Color Run, your title is accurate no more. I bought two clothing items today that was simply an XL. I may have cried in a public place. I haven’t been a standard XL since I was 20. Oh man…the rush was incredible. Just to know that less than a month ago a woman held the power to destroy me if I would have let her. But instead I turned it into something positive, a drive, a burn….and I’ve shed an X.

And I felt free.

Like a bird who had been caged for far too long.

I felt free.

I took my opportunity at a door left ajar.

I felt free.

I could see it, an open window basking in sunlight.

I felt free.

I could get there. I could be on the open breeze.

I was free.

 

That was something I wrote when I got out of the 240s into the 230s. There was an astounding freedom with knowing that weight loss was possible. I could achieve it. I just had to capitalize on everything in front of me. I could do it, I really could. My dedication and relentlessness paid off in a form that I didn’t expect a few days ago.

Having sacral agenesis (related to another syndrome) at birth, my daughter is missing a few vertebrae and her tailbone. She is lucky in that she has full mobility and we are so grateful. She has taken weekly PT to work on balance, stamina, and muscle building considering there is nothing solid for her muscles to connect to. On Thursday she shattered 3 of the goals set for her a year ago. Obliterated them. Why? Because this kid puts EVERYTHING into this hour every week. She does exercises at home, every day. She never lets anything make her feel not good enough. Every time she loses her balance she gets more motivation to try it again instead of giving up. She never feels sorry for herself, she doesn’t know how. All she knows is hard work leads you somewhere. I told her through a cascade of tears how very proud of her I was, how inspirational her journey is to me. She never takes the easy way out, ever. She told me that she sees me go to the gym every day and put in hard work every day. I’ve been going strong for six months, only illness keeps me from my daily hour. I was so proud of her and also proud of myself that I may be a small reason why she is so dedicated to making sure she is doing everything she can to help her body the best it can be.

It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about being the strongest, or being skinny. It’s about every day. That effort you give every day. If you give your absolute best, then you can rest happy on that. If you laid it all out there, and there’s nothing more you can do, then you can be good with that.

Labels.

I ran my first 5K Saturday. And by ran, I mean walk. I was so proud…I set a goal, I committed, I went even though I was sick. I reconnected with old friends, made a new one, and really let myself enjoy the moment.

Go back 24 hours.

I went to pick up my race packet. You go to a table, show your ID, and get your bib along with a bag of goodies that included a Color Run T-shirt. The lady who took my idea said nothing to me, but wrote XXL on the back of my bib. That was my t-shirt size. Granted, that is my t-shirt size. But this bothered me on a level I was not ready for.

This lady didn’t know me. She didn’t ask me any questions, didn’t know my name, my age. Nothing. She sized me up as soon as she saw me. XXL. My daughter was right beside me, beaming, so proud her mom is getting fit, getting healthier. That lady didn’t see that. She saw XXL. It felt like a gut punch. I was deflated. I felt like an XXS inside.

This haunted me all weekend. I went back to that ugly place I was comfortable in six months ago. And then I became paranoid. Is this what people think of me? Is this what I look like? Do people refer to me as “That XXL chick?” This could have been the beginning of the end. This could have been a 20 lb gain. This is where it all went wrong so many times before.

I remained as positive as I could, and decided that I didn’t have to stay an XXL. I just had to keep pushing. I had to stay the course. As long as I could keep my mind right everything else would fall into place.

Then today happened.

My husband has an alumni dinner at his alma mater on Saturday. I need a cocktail dress. Seriously? I went today to look for one, certain it would end in depressing disaster. I found a cute dress quite quickly, and then wanted to heave it into the fires of hell when I saw the tag. Size 18. Riiiiight. I was a 26 in October. I craved anything elastic. This had a little give, but actually had a zipper in the back. not a lot of give with a zipper.

IT FIT.

Let me repeat. IT FIT. And while looking at myself in the mirror, feeling prettier than I had in a while, I cried. I cried because I didn’t give up when I wanted to. I didn’t let someone deter me. I cried because the hard work is paying off. I cried because I remembered how supported I was. And then I ran out of the dressing room to show the lady I had been talking to and she said “You look incredible.” I felt incredible.