WHY can’t I take my own advice?

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Wendie and Betsy 2016

 

I weigh the same today as I did last year.

And it’s the same as the year before.

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SAME race 2015, with Spencer

This is 2+ years of stable weight for me.  Ups and downs, but year over year – I am staying almost the same. 🙂

And THAT is a big deal in my world.  A world that was dominated by very consistent weight gains my ENTIRE life.  Mixed-in with radical, unsustainable, starvation-style, short-lived weight losses. Such a life-long, nasty, horrible, depressing cycle.

Until 5 years ago.

I enlisted the help of Wade, Hannah, Liz, Deb and Anneke to be my accountability team and help me get control of my life before Type 2 diabetes and obesity killed me. I carefully tracked my weight loss over the 3 years I was losing and checked in with them all weekly.  But I have only been tracking my ‘stable’ weight for the last year and a half. This was in part prompted by Spencer asking me why I was paralyzed with fear at a ‘small’ weight gain.  I was in total meltdown, convinced I had gained 15 pounds or more overnight.  When we really investigated it and broke it down; it was about a 3 pound weight gain.  It felt MUCH BIGGER. But the truth was that I hadn’t tracked my weight consistently so I had NOTHING factual to go on. So the past 18 months or so I have documented my weight along with my workouts in my Garmin database.   Now I can only argue with graphs and facts.  Not my faulty and anxious memory.

I weigh 172.8 pounds today.

The part no one told me about this whole journey was that every little dip, dive, gain on that scale (Which is ENTIRELY NORMAL) often escalates into emotional drama and fear and over-reaction. I am ashamed to admit how many times I have stepped on the scale multiple times within a single day seeking reassurance or in some way hoping that stupid little machine would banish my fears…

Holy crap has the scale/my weight/a NUMBER had me in a chokehold.

This morning it was in graph form for me to see.  No arguing with anything.  I weigh the same as I did last year.  I told Spencer that my weight is now 2 years stable.  And his response ‘so what does that make you think about…?’

Good question. 🙂

I thought about ALL of the wasted time, drama, energy, self-loathing that have gone into the last few years where I was SURE every single food choice had the ability to catapult me backwards or derail my efforts. Let alone when I let the daily number on the scale dictate my mood for the day…

But this mornings weight and graph were pretty solid proof that I can actually manage my weight with food and activity. I’m doing the right things over the long haul, even if I don’t get the day to day stuff just right. 🙂

This morning’s realization and conversation also got me thinking…  Had I been open-minded at the start of this whole thing and could have listened to and absorbed some grounded advice — what information would have been helpful?

I really wish I could have told myself a few things when I started this whole crazy journey…

Told myself and BELIEVED it…

1. Your weight fluctuates.  Daily. It can go up or down during training.  If you have your period.  If you eat too much salt.  The rotation of the earth. 🙂 Sometimes it’s really legit gain because you ate too many calories because your friend Wendie makes this insane guacamole that you can not stop eating.  But you have to understand that your weight isn’t stable in the day to day. Not gonna happen. Quit even thinking it’s possible. And you know what?  It isn’t meant to be. You thought you got to a number and stayed there with just a little effort?  That this whole bodyweight thing was simple math and cut and dried?  Uh…  HELL NO.

2. Take measurements.  I really WISH I had known how big my hips or belly or thighs were at my largest.  I didn’t take measurements because — hell — who really wants to know that they have a 75” waist?  You will wish you had those body measurements for reference and reassurance in the process. At any point when you’re feeling ‘fat’, stalled or just wondering how far your journey has taken you — you can pull out a tape measure and be assured, well beyond the confines of a stupid scale, that you were NOT gaining anything but muscle or fitness.

3.  Worry is wasted energy.  Spend time looking for solutions and opportunities.

4. And for the love of ALL THAT IS HOLY quit beating yourself up. YOU, who you are at the very CORE of your being, has nothing to do with the number on a scale or the packaging of your body. NOTHING.  Please, oh please, just believe me on this one.  I’m in tears writing this.  I am crying for you and for myself too. Because I know you won’t believe me, you can’t fathom what I’m trying to tell you… This is the last thing you can possibly wrap your mind around when you’ve battled your weight your entire life and a number is staring you in the face — a number you hate.  A number so large you didn’t know the scale went that high. I know that feeling of panicked desperation and hopelessness as well as I know the sound of my own heart beating. Text me, call me, reach out to me and I will spend the rest of my life relentlessly reminding you of your value to our world. I’m a way better judge of your value than a stupid mechanical piece of crap you bought at Costco.

5. Don’t pick a number for a goal.  (See 1.) Don’t pick a clothing size either. That’s really just another number. Pick a feeling, activity, ability, destination.  You want to climb stairs and not be gulping for air?  You want to feel solidly OK with how you feel in your birthday or bathing suit? 🙂  You want to be able to hike, run, walk, move better….  PICK something that isn’t a transient, essentially meaningless, number.

6. Know that the BIG picture is worth all the little steps, mis-steps, concerns, questions, sacrifices. It’s hard work. It’s worth it.  And this is in NO WAY linear.  No way.  There is nothing direct, logical or straight about this path you are on.  And you’re going to be making stuff up as you go.

7. Do NOT let that scale dictate your mood to the world.  It’s up a bit?  DO SOMETHING about it.  Don’t be a bitch. Or walk around like someone ran over your dog. Or have a short fuse with loved ones.  Or start secluding yourself from the people you love because you feel you don’t ‘deserve’ their love or you’re deeply embarrassed. Stop allowing that stupid, effing, scale to affect your mood.

8. Please, please, please love on yourself.  And believe in yourself.  YOU will do this.  And you can’t see the day, but it’s coming; you will be healthy and happy. Your weight should not be allowed to dictate ANY of that.  You have so much to offer the world.  You’re an aunt.  A sister.  A friend.  A daughter.  A momma. A lot of really, really remarkable things that no one else in the whole entire world can possibly be! We were only given ONE of you. One. Do what you can each day to help yourself get healthy so you can be around and enjoy the life in front of you.  Be around for US.

9.  This isn’t a short-term investment.  You will look at something daily and judge it as not moving, plateaued (favorite Weight Watchers scapegoat phrase right there…) failing.  But if you can just HANG ON and look at this from the 3,000 foot view, look at this from a 365-day investment — you will see growth.  YOU WILL.  Really!  Keep at it.  You didn’t gain the weight over night.  You will not lose it overnight. Trite and irritating – but TRUE.

10. One of my favorite songs of all times is ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ by Tim McGraw.  You’re living this weight loss journey with a lot of fear.  Fear of going backwards.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of FAILURE…  What if…?  Holy smokes.  The fear you have embraced and live with could choke an elephant. What if you could just enjoy the journey for what it was and live each day like you are trying to be your very best? Living like you’re dying doesn’t mean you live with no consequences for your choices.  It means you accept each day, each moment for what it is and keep moving toward the goal you want to reach…


Even though I was intellectually aware of all of this,  I sure as hell did not understand it.  Couldn’t figure out how to apply it to my situation.  None of it.  I know that until very recently I simply wasn’t ready to hear it,  understand it.

Today prompted a lot of thinking.

This time I really am listening. 🙂

I hope that anyone else who might need to hear this is listening as well…

 

marilyn-ad-nike

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5 years.

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It’s been 5 years since I started this whole wild, crazy, life-saving journey.

1,825 days spent working to change my ways.

Most of those days I worked hard, got it right, or at the very least I tried to make the smartest choice I could at any given moment.

Some of those days I just held on for dear life.

A few of those days were walks backwards. Regressions, lessons, pity parties and more than a few tears…

I am 5 years in today — with hopefully many, many years in front of me.  I am cherishing the time that this lifestyle change bought me; time I plan to continue to use to love, adventure, run, grow, LIVE…

I have been handed a second chance at life and I am not going to waste a single moment.

Five(ish) years ago my doctor basically told me I could be dead in 5 years if I didn’t make a serious change in my life.  Obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol were taking their toll.

Here we are 5 year later…

And I’ve made some serious changes.


I love when someone close to me — who KNOWS what I have been through says … ‘Five years ago would you have ever guessed…?’

The answer is always ‘no.’

Always.

I knew things had to change. But let’s be honest… I really had NO idea how this whole ’embracing a healthy lifestyle’ thing would go.

Or what I would gain.  Learn.  Love.

How radically different my life would become.

There are inspirational quotes that speak to this — but in reality that time was going to pass anyway.  Each day was marching forward no matter what. I could have used those 1,800 days to hone my skills with needles/meds/glucose monitors and gotten to know even more fast food drive-thrus and bought more ill-fitting clothes in the largest sizes possible.  I could’ve kept marching toward a sure and early grave, merely treating the disease as I gave up trying to save my own life.

Not to be all dramatic or anything — but seriously?  That is exactly what I was doing…

Instead…

I woke up July 2 five years ago and I began to fight.

I built and then clung to a team of support people.

I was fiercely determined to find a way to make this work.

I started to eat less and move more.  I started losing weight and gaining control of my blood sugars.

A year in, I kicked diabetes to the curb.

I found running after a lifetime of saying I would only ‘run when chased’.  And then fell head over heels (pun intended, although I really have fallen on my face a few times…) in love with running.  Trail running to be specific.

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I’ve worn tight/short spandex shorts in public.  Many times. 🙂 I’ve even run in just shorts and sports bra.

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I can cross my legs. I can see my feet. I can fit in an airplane seat. 🙂

And then there’s the whole bathing suit thing… 🙂

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I still have to watch portions.  I still fret over the scale. I still feel like a 392 pound woman walking around some days. But I NOW have tools and people and goals that make all of those issues seems less-important and way less all-consuming than they were even a year ago…

Nothing happened overnight.  It was tons and tons of little baby steps on a wild roller coaster ride.

But I never, ever could have guessed where this was all headed or how my life,  body and health would change.


If you would have told me 5 years ago that I was going to be able to use my story of being morbidly obese, Type 2 Diabetic, inactive, really just ambling around and waiting to die….  If you would have told me that I was going to be HELPING others to try to reclaim their lives, I would have told you that you had lost your mind.

And yet that’s the biggest gift of this whole endeavor.

Meeting people like me.  People facing triple-digit weight loss, stern orders from Docs to ‘do or die’ and the inability to even know how to take that first horrifically-frightening step forward to save their own life.

I know how they feel.

I was THERE.

I remember going to bed on July 1st terrified out of my mind at what I was about to embark on.  And yet MORE terrified of what my life would be like in 5 years if I didn’t get started.  I don’t remember sleeping very well that night. 🙂  But I remember that when I woke up on July 2, 2011 — my feet hit the floor and I KNEW in my heart and soul that this time, this TIME, I was going to be successful in making some big changes. My life depended on it.


I’m not done.

I committed to this change for life.  I’m still learning and growing and changing.  And it’s not linear. There are still good days, bad days and habits that have to be shaken off or replaced.  I’m really not done. 🙂

But every single day is a gift.

The people in my life are blessings beyond words.

The people who started this journey with me, the ones who run beside me now and the ones in between at every cross/turn/bump who supported, cajoled, questioned and supported me.  It’s an entire, bustling village full of people who got me to this point.

This girl has a heart bursting with gratitude and joy.

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