Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If you feel like you've failed...

Everyone has heard the Thomas Edison quotes about failure - the most famous one being: 

When asked about his most recent failure to invent the light bulb he said: 

"I haven't failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that it won't work." ~Thomas Edison 

When people see that I have lost weight or they read something I post on my blog or they see my C25K status updates on Facebook they will say things to me like, 

"I am so inspired by what you are doing" 
"You are really doing awesome" 
"You look fantastic" 

To all of those people I say, "Thank you!!! Thank you so much for the compliments - I am so grateful that I have finally gotten the motivation to change my life." 

However, some of those people will follow their compliments with a statement about themselves that goes something like this: 

"I have tried to (insert lose weight/run/change my life here) and I always quit." 
"I don't know how you do it - I just don't have the time." 
"Every time I try to (insert lose weight/run/change my life here) something happens and I fail." 

To those people I say: 

"You have not failed until you stop trying." 

"Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." ~Thomas Edison 

I know I have only been on this planet for 31 and a half years. I have not experienced many of life's "milestones" (ie. Marriage, Motherhood, etc.) but I can tell you one thing I HAVE experienced - over and over and over again. The disappointment of letting myself down and giving up on so many things in my life. 

When I lost 70 pounds and then gained ALL of it back - that was one of the lowest and hopeless feelings that I have ever experienced (aside from the death of loved ones). I can tell you that I have never been more ashamed of myself and unable to accept that I had to do it all over again. 

But I did. It's been much slower and much harder this time around (as multiple times around often are) but I didn't fail. 

Why? Because I didn't stop trying. 

I don't care what you are doing in life - be it weight loss, trying to love again, a new or different career, etc. You did not fail - unless you stop trying. 

I also don't care how many times you have quit... you can succeed. 

I've quit - many times. I quit school, I quit working out, I quit eating healthy ... and I may quit again - who knows??? 

What I do know is that there is a diploma (two actually) hanging on my wall, I can run 30 minutes without stopping, and my lunch today was very healthy for my body ... but that is all know. 

Life is full of adventure - never stop experiencing it!!! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A letter to "Skinny Me"

Dear Skinny Me, 

I am writing you this letter because I know that once you are there you will forget where you came from. It's natural and not necessarily a bad thing that you would forget, but I think that if you remembered you would appreciate life and the things you have so much more. You see, I'm definitely not you yet. But Im also definitely not who I used to be either ("300 lb Hates herself girl") and I have already forgotten a lot about what it was like to be her. Sometimes I have to think really hard to remember her and what she felt, and it helps me appreciate myself and my progress more. 

You used to be her too. 


Yes, really ... I knew you would forget. So, before she is totally erased from your memory I wanted to write down what I can remember about that girl: 

"Hates herself" was miserable. She couldn't tell you how she got to where she was but she had NO CLUE how to get out of it. Every morning the task of getting dressed was a reminder that she had FAILED. Nothing looked pretty or girly ... or God forbid ... attractive! She blamed it on the people who manufacture clothes because THEY are the ones who are responsible for the clothing that she had to chose from - they never make anything that looks good on a fat girl. Then reality would sink in....what would really look good on "this" body?? She constantly used the sentence "I look like a sausage in these jeans." 

Forget actually going shopping for clothes. Dressing rooms were like little torture chambers in hell. Maybe it was the lighting or this big dang mirror? Nope, again it MUST be those manufacturers - they can't do anything right. Leaving the dressing room was the best part ... now where is that food court again??? Oh yeah, just a few steps away - that will make her feel better. 

"Hates herself" loved winter... HATED snow and cold ... but loved winter none the less. Why? Big bulky clothes that covered up everything ... so what if she looked like the Michelin Tire guy? Summer was its own little torturous game. How to enjoy the beautiful weather, get some sun (because continuously looking like the Michelin guy was unacceptable), but still cover up enough not to be completely humiliated around everyone! Every plus size swimsuit has a granny skirt ... remember those? (curse those manufacturers) 

"Hates herself" loved roller coasters, just like you, but the terror of getting on one was worse than the actual thrill of riding it. Will this be the day that it doesn't close and I have to get off the ride in humiliation? She felt that her size would crush someone if she accidentally fell on them. "Hates herself" could never imagine a day when someone (not even a big strong man) would be able to pick her up without being immediately rushed to the emergency room. 

"Hates herself" never thought she could do anything. She would try to run but wouldn't make it a tenth of a mile before having to stop to walk while channeling Darth Vader. 

"Hates herself" felt trapped. Like this was her life sentence - because she had tried before to get out of this prison of a body that she had cocooned herself in and never succeeded. 

So, "Skinny Me" I know that it is hard to remember these things, but it is important that you do. First of all, so that you remember to do all you can to never return there again. Also, so that you can appreciate your accomplishments and don't be hard on yourself! Thirdly, so that you can help others to realize that they can do it too. It is hard work, but it is possible. Run around the prison and tell all of the other "Hates herselves" that they have the key to get out too! 

Most importantly ... no matter what your size or situation. Love yourself. No more hating yourself, ok? Even if you do find yourself at 300 lbs who you are. 

Take care sweetheart...Ill see you soon! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

I almost embarrassed myself at the gym...

So, as most of you know ... I am doing the C25K running program. 

C25K (if you are wondering) stands for Couch to 5k and is a 9 week program that is supposed to make someone who sits on the couch all the time a 5k runner in 9 weeks. 

"It's a lie...Steven." (See...Nacho quote for every situation) 

Even though I LOVE the program - and almost wish I could start over and do it again just to re-live the sheer feeling of pride I have gotten from advancing to each and every week.... I honestly have not met one person who has actually completed the program in exactly 9 weeks. Most people have to do weeks over or do runs over - and that is ok. I also haven't met anyone who has tried C25K literally starting as a sedentary person. Most people find C25K after they have been physically active for at least a few weeks. 

I guess the name "Couch to 5k" is catchy ... and I guess it works. 

Anyway...the program is AMAZING and I encourage anyone to try it. You won't regret a single day! 

Now....for my story. 

Tuesday night was my first 28 minute run. I reluctantly drove myself to the gym with no intention of actually completing the run. I don't know if you ever do this to yourself but I do it all the time. 

Im driving...Im walking into the gym...Im actually starting up the treadmill thinking....Ill just run a little bit and say I tried. 

Im such a dork. (and this is probably the reason that I had to repeat several weeks along the way) 

When I first start on the treadmill, I always look around to see who is around me and what they are doing. It is the "people watcher" in me and my curiosity fuels the fire. 

I always wonder what they think of me. I wonder if they look at me, size me up, and think I won't make it for very long. (Im not a little girl, ya know). In my mind ... that is what they are all thinking. This is part of my mental "psyching" up ... "I'm gonna prove them all wrong!" 

As Im mind is my biggest enemy. I KNOW, in my KNOWER, that my body can do it - my mind isnt so sure. When I FINALLY make it to the half-way point Im usually saying to myself, "I can not do that again!! The first half took FOREVER!!" 

PS...the second half always goes faster ;o) 

At some point in my run I always roll my sleeves all the way up - it helps me cool off ...and that is the only reason I do it - trust me. 

When that bell rings and that beautiful male voice says "Walk" (Id like to kiss him), 

I looked kinda like this: 


Except I wasnt finishing a triathalon. 
And my arms certainly don't look like that... 
And I was DRIPPING with sweat. 
And I was on a treadmill... 

But you get the point. 

I threw my fists in the air and I ALMOST yelled out "YES!!" 

Then I realized how embarrassing that would have been. 

I wish I would have though. Who cares what everyone else in that gym would have thought of me? They do stupid stuff all the time - trust me, I know! 

The funny part about my run was that it wasn't the run that made me feel great. 

It was the sweat drops all over the treadmill when I was done. 
It was the fact that there was a whole different group of people on the treadmills when I finished the run than there were when I started it. 
It was overcoming my mental harassment. 
It was proving all of those people who thought I couldn't do it - wrong. (I know it was all in my head...but go with me here) 

Tonight I get to do it all over again. Bring it. 
Tomorrow is weigh in day. Bring it. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Life is gooood, reaaallly good."

I'm not sure what is going on with me these days. 

I feel like there are people that I have come across in my life who simply can not function without some sort of drama or crisis. It's like they just can't be happy - no matter what good things happen, they are always finding (or creating) negativity. 

I hate drama. I HATE crisis. 

So, how come I feel this way when things seem to be fine? 

I have a great job. I love my apartment, my roommate is ok - just kidding...she is great. I'm working out hard, eating healthy, and saving money. My friends and family (that matter) are amazing. I'm making strides in all of my goals for this year. 

As Nacho would say, "Life is gooood, reaaaally good." 

***Side note - I TRULY believe that there is a Nacho Libre quote for EVERY situation in life. Don't believe me? Just hang out with me for a few days.*** 

Something is just.....I can't place my finger on it. 

Maybe it is because I am not in the place in my life where I THOUGHT I would be by now ... but that's not totally it. 

Maybe it is because I have achieved lots of things that I set out to do and feel like there is still such a long way to go...but that's not totally it either. 

Please don't tell me I need a hobby. I can't seem to do the things that I already know I love or that would help me get further along in completing my goals for the year. 

Please, please, PAAALLLLEASE ... don't tell me I need a husband. If ONE more person says that to me, I swear ... 

George Bernard Shaw was once quoted as saying, "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." (Don't I sound smart?) 

So, I guess that is the point of my ramblings today. I am in a place in my life where I am creating myself (within the understanding of the woman God wants me to be, of course). Its ok that the person viewing the masterpiece doesn't quite get it yet (they might not ever get it). 

Its ok that I don't quite get it yet. One day I will. 

Isaiah 59:9 NLT 
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. 
Does a clay pot argue with its maker? 
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ 
Does the pot exclaim, 
‘How clumsy can you be?" 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What is your relationship with food?

After discussing some mental challenges I have with weight loss with a sweet friend, she suggested that I take an honest look at my relationship with food.   I thought it would also be helpful for me to take an honest look at my relationship with my body while I'm at it - because I think that the two are connected. 

Everyone has a relationship with their bodies. In my own observations and experiences I can group people into 4 different categories (listed in no particular order): 

1. There are those people out there (God love them!) who love their bodies fully and completely. 

2. However, for the majority of people, it is merely a slight to moderate dislike with an acceptance that this is just the way they are (and if not a full acceptance then not necessarily a dislike enough to do anything to change it). 

3. For some, it is a love/hate relationship where they love themselves (and hate the problem areas) enough to do something about it (or at least attempt to do something). 

4. The last group are those who just hate. These people tend to have eating disorders, self-esteem and body image problems. 

I spent most of my life as a TWO with tendencies to cross the line into the mindset of a FOUR at any given time. However, my relationship with food quickly got out of control and because of friends and family who care about me - I find myself as a THREE today and not a FOUR. (Gratefully) 

If I'm truly honest with myself - which I promised I would be. My relationship with food looks something like this. 

THREE views food as first and foremost a way to feed their emotions. Food is used, for the most part, as reward and punishment and on some occasions used as fuel for their bodies. THREEs spend every second of a meal or snack thinking about whether or not this is a "bad" choice or a "good" choice - that decision will determine how they feel after they make the choice and eat it. THREEs either feel shame or pride immediately after food is swallowed (based solely on the judgement of good or bad made prior to putting the food in their mouths). THREEs do not trust their bodies at all. They think that they can eat healthy and exercise for a week and lose one pound but if they have one slice of pizza they will gain three. Since they will gain three pounds with one slice they might as well eat the entire pie because there may not be another pizza made in their lifetime and starting with the next meal they will have only allow themselves to have lettuce for the rest of their lives!! THREES will continue to eat even when they feel full because they still feel sad, lonely, happy, angry - whatever emotion triggered the food fest. THREEs have usually had some traumatic experience in their lives that caused them humiliation due to the size or look of their body. They unrealistically think that the chair they are sitting in will not hold their weight and they will collapse to the ground in sheer humiliation while skinny ONEs point and laugh at them. (Even though true ONEs aren't the ones who are passing judgement on other people's body size - its the FOURs that are usually the worst about this). THREEs operate out of fear - of food, of their body's reaction to food, of their ability to reach their goals ... fear is always the driving factor. 

Yes, I am a THREE. In all of my glory. However, I aspire to be a ONE. 

I believe that ONE's relationship with food is a healthy understanding that food is something that is meant to be enjoyed, but it also fulfills a purpose. They eat when their body tells them they are hungry and they make decisions based on what is best for them in the long run - not simply in that moment. Food does not fill a void or soothe a pain. They eat slowly because food will always be there and they will be hungry again - there is no fear that the world will end tomorrow and you will never have another slice of pizza. If something deemed "unhealthy" is eaten, they trust their bodies enough to process the food and return to a normal state again soon because the body is a great stabilizer and has the ability to level itself out. Once the hunger is satisfied, ONEs stop eating because the food has fulfilled it's purpose. ONEs do not understand what it is like to be in fear of doing something physical because their bodies CAN'T. ONEs have never been kicked off of roller coasters because the shoulder bar won't close. ONEs have never spiraled into a deep depression because they just ate an entire birthday cake in one sitting because they over-analyzed a situation and reacted in fear. ONEs may have other fears and insecurities - but food is not one of them. 

So, how does someone go from the mindset of a THREE to the mindset of a ONE? I really believe that you can have the mindset of a ONE without being skinny. So here are the steps I'm going to take to get there: 

emoticon Make an effort to determine WHY I am eating. (Am I hungry or am I eating emotionally?) 
emoticon Slow down. 
emoticon Stop when I'm full. 
emoticon No more self-hate or shame about food. 
emoticon Remind myself of my accomplishments every day. 
emoticon Give myself credit for how far I have come and forget about how far I have left to go.