My Before Photos Used to Inspire Me, But Now I Feel Ashamed and Terrified

  
So I apologize ahead of time, friends, but this blog post has been swirling around in my head for a couple weeks, and it finally came to the surface last night. I endeavor to be honest with you about my journey, so this blog post is a little more serious, a little more heavy, then the usual.
I am within 20 pounds of being done with my weight loss journey. And honestly, these last 20 pounds are really about getting to a healthy BMI, and with in my weight loss range for Weight Watchers, so I can “go legit” and become a WW Leader. 

  
I look like a Size 8, am sometimes a size 10, sometimes a size 12. My boobs are about half the size that used to be, and fairly “average” where they used to be fairly “outrageous.” I’ve lost most of my zaftig curves, trading them in for a longer, leaner runner’s body that looks much more like my mother’s than I have since high school. 

  
I feel so much lighter. Honestly it’s like peeling layers away, heavy layers that weigh you down, make you slow and make it harder to move. Sometimes I liken it to a little motorized scooter laden down with packages. It goes faster the more stuff you take off of it, until it just zooms around on its own. I now zoom around on my own, faster and lighter and more youthful than I have ever been.

But there are moments now that I wasn’t expecting. There are these moments where I look back, or TimeHop takes me back, to a year ago or two, maybe three. 

  
And I am ashamed of the physical and emotional state I was in. Because it’s not just the physical weight I was carrying, but the terrible eating habits, the eating too much, drinking too much and really struggling emotionally but being unwilling to help myself.

  
I am ashamed of where I started. And it makes me nervous about where I’m going. Not because I am worried I won’t be able to keep the weight off. I know I can do that. My concern is, if I feel this ashamed and am this determined to never go back, what will I be willing to do to avoid it? 

Those TimeHop photos are haunting me. 

I find myself worrying over my intake, even though my intake is exactly on plan. Because of this photos, I have pushed myself to go to the gym when I clearly should have gone home, and I have unnecessarily caused tension in my relationship because I am so rigid in my plan when I didn’t have to be. 

Even as I write this blog post, I am realizing that the photos, and these feelings of shame are about where I came from, but the uneasiness comes from a place of being afraid.

I am not confident in my ability to manage my weight loss and my maintenance without being fanatical. 

But I don’t want to be one of those women who spends 40 minutes analyzing every curve in her body in the mirror every morning, or who misses experiences or even quiet night snuggled up on the couch, because I’m afraid the lunch of grilled chicken and grilled vegetables is somehow going to cause me to gain 105 pounds overnight. Ultimately, I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself.

So I don’t have all the answers right now. I don’t know how to balance being ashamed of where I started and being profoundly grateful for where I am today. I don’t know how to balance the fear of being that heavy and uncomfortable again, with the notion but sometimes it’s OK to get a little off track. 

This one is definitely “To Be Continued” but I would love for you to weigh in (pun intended) in the comments! 

Weight Loss is So Much “More” Than Diet & Exercise

So I *really* don’t like this quote:  
To me this says weight loss should be like a light switch, as if we don’t know that eating more healthy options and moving our booties would result in weight loss.

Correct me if I’m wrong but you knew that already, right?

So let’s stop pretending weight loss is some simplistic formula of checking off boxes and food groups, and let’s have an honest discussion.

Weight loss is 90% mental.

No, I take that back. 

Weight loss is 10% physical, 39% mental and 51% emotional. 

You can run your booty off, but if you don’t plan and make good food choices, you can’t sustain the loss. 

If you make good food choices and exercise, but don’t genuinely believe in yourself and your potential, I firmly believe you cannot sustain the loss. 

Because real change comes from saying “I don’t like this part of myself. I don’t like the way I look, the way I feel, the clothes that fit my body, and I really don’t like how I feel about myself like this. I’m ready to make a change.”

For me, you know I woke up one morning in Florida and decided to change. But I bet you knew it wasn’t really that simple, right?

My parents were worried about my health. 

My best friends were fearful for my health and my eating/drinking habits. 

I couldn’t do basic things like walk for a half hour down the beach with my boyfriend, and I was not a role model for the kids or staff I worked with. 

I was unhappy with myself, and I took it out on those around me. I was catty, I was rude, I was disrespectful, and I openly rejected others before they had a chance to do it to me because I was fat. 

I ate and drank too much, which led to more weight gain and depression. I stayed up late and slept the days away. 

And slowly, I lost the person I was, and the more I didn’t like the person I had become, the worse I got emotionally. 

It was waking up that morning, unhappy at my job but feeling trapped because “Where was I gonna go?” Where did the woman with all the potential go?

It was waking up that morning and realizing I didn’t know what was going on in the world but I knew who screwed who, wore what and said what in our community. Where did that voracious reader and perpetual student go? 

It was waking up that morning and realizing that the man in my life was there, but wouldn’t stay if I couldn’t get my shit together. He deserved a partner, not a project. Where had that compassionate, giggly woman gone?

And looking down at my body at the stretch marks, cellulite and fat and wondering where the athlete went? I knew exercise made me feel better- I’d been a runner for years. So where was that girl that would “never miss a Monday?”

So for me, I think the desire to make a change, the willingness to try, and the decision to put myself out there, fat ass and all, those things indicated that an emotional shift had occurred.

And that’s what you said, too, when I asked:

  • You were “first receptive and open to change.”
  • You “jumped on your soap box” and talked about radically changing your mindset, and what was acceptable for you.
  • You learned “It is a journey and taught me to understand, besides good food, how much it relates to emotional and stressful times.”
  • You decided to “live the plan, not just follow it” and realized that the decision to “take care of me first” didn’t make you selfish, but rather, left a happier, healthier person to share with your family and friends. 
  • And then, when the weight started to come off, “my opinion of myself improved greatly – losing weight and gaining confidence about everything” else in your life. 

When I hit my -100 goal last week, my best friend out up the following Facebook status about me, and her mother, who is a long/term maintainer of an -80 loss. Mary Jo is a serious example for the rest of us to follow, getting to her goal through practicing moderation in her portions, but never deriving herself of the things (like dessert) that she loves. And she’s pretty sassy, too! 😉

   

So I guess my soapbox moment is this:

Please put as much energy, effort and time as you do menu planning and exercising as you do into loving yourself, taking good care of your emotional wellness and being open to examining how you got to he starting point of your journey, and what you want to do in order to leave that person behind you, forever. Spend as much time defining what your “more” is and will be, and let that guide and drive your weight loss.

You’re totally worth your time. Totally worth your own love. And totally capable of your own “more.” xoxo

100 Things That Helped Me Lose -100 Lbs

So, it happened! I have officially lost -100lbs!   

Actually, it’s -102.2lbs, which means I have completed the goal I set for myself last November! Yay!

This has been an incredibly hard, fun and exciting time in my life, and I’m so much better in so many ways – health, emotional wellness, stress, love – than I was a year ago.

In honor of my -100lb loss, I’ve put together a list of 100 things that helped me lose -100lbs:

Five Things That Made This Weight Loss Possible:

  • My incredible partner in life
  • Weight Watchers
  • Planet Fitness
  • Fitbit
  • Online WW groups (great for recipes, support, camraderie, inspiration)

Fruits & Veggies You Will Usually Find in My Home:

  

  • Kale, in any form
  • Granny Smith Apples (Close #2: Honey Crisp Apples)
  • Mushrooms (roasted, in omelettes, with onions)
  • Tomatoes (preferably in salad with fresh basil, red onion and capers)
  • Brussels sprouts (Either roasted in chicken stock or topped with lemon juice and chives)
  • Green grapes
  • Bananas, on workout days
  • Juice oranges for cocktails (grapefruit during the winter)
  • Fresh herbs like thyme, basil, oregano & rosemary 
  • Zucchini, grilled, sautéed or made into zoodles
  • Broccolini or asparagus roasted in the oven

My Personal Mantras:

  • Plain seltzer is fine, but no soda or artificially flavored drinks.
  • Limit the processed foods. This means no fake cheeses, foods that are processed and packaged dry like hundred calorie packs, low-fat crackers, TV dinners, canned soups, etc.
  • Hit the gym four times a week, and never miss a Monday.
  • Plan for your success. Menu planning and weekly meal prep are huge advantages you can give yourself. If you have the right foods readily available to you, I think you are much more likely to make good food choices.
  • No fast food. Just don’t do it. 

Condiments I LOVE:

  • Good olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Kosher salt & coarse ground pepper

Five Photos That Kept Me On Track:

   
    
   

Foods I Will Splurge On (more often than others):

  • Naan bread pizzas
  • Bootlegger 21 vodka
  • Homemade Pasta
  • Parmesan-Truffle fries 
  • Champagne 

Things I STILL Have to Remind Myself Of:

  • This weight did not go on in a day and will not come off with one good workout.
  • There are going to be good days and bad, and one bad day does not derail all this hard work.
  • As women we spend so much time caring for others and feel so guilty taking time for ourselves. It’s ok to insist on doing what I need to do to succeed. 
  • Working on your emotional health is equally important to working on your physical health. Fix them both or risk being back where you started.
  • Food is the most abused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized anxiety drug.

Kitchen Staples I Always Have On Hand:

  • Al Fresco Chicken Breakfast Sausage Patties
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Full-fat cheese 
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Capers

Five Dumbest Things I Did During the 1st 100 lbs: 

  • Not taking measurements when I started (#1 by far)
  • Putting cheese slices in the house (I ate ’em allllllllllll!)
  • Celebrate my new job with cocktails every couple days for a month (lots of calories and skipping the gym)
  • Let how others treated me impact my emotional self-worth (get on my side or get out)
  • Waited so long to start circuit training (I have some toning to do, big time)

Five Memes That Motivate Me: 

   
    
   
Go-To Proteins:

  • Fish, whole or fillets (skip tilapia and most farm-raised fishes!)
  • Thick cut pork chops 
  • Frozen mussels and frozen shrimp
  • Skirt steak 
  • Chicken breast (my go-to lunch)

I Felt Like I Was Truly Succeeding When:

  • I stopped getting winded going up stairs.
  • I started to treat my body like a bank account, adding my workouts and debiting my indulgences. 
  • The first time I went shopping and it wasn’t a matter of whether or not I would find a dress that fit, but which dress looks best.
  • I ran/jogged my first 5K. 
  • I flew on an airplane, and never had to worry if the seatbelt would fit.

Go-To Beverages:

  • Iced coffee
  • Double espresso
  • Iced tea
  • Seltzer
  • Bootlegger 21 vodka on the rocks with lime

Five Things You Should Ignore During Your Journey:

  • Anyone who says “Should you eat that?” “You can eat that?” Or “I can’t believe you ate that.” Good or bad, just ignore them.
  • Enablers, food pushers and anyone who says “Don’t skip this. You can have just a little.” 
  • The scale the day after sushi or Chinese food.
  • The voice in your head that says “This is hard/taking too long. Why bother?”
  • Your legs the day after your first workout. 

The Best 5 Things I Bought To Equip Myself for My Journey: 

  • Kitchen scale (measure!)
  • A lunch bag & Tupperware that fits it (prep!)
  • Soda Stream (seltzer on demand)
  • Pink sneakers (cute shoes always, y’all)
  • Weight Watchers membership 

Five Moments of Tough Love:
   
    
   
Five Things I Did Not Anticipate Liking:

  • Roasted carrots
  • Being sweaty (sweating like a wildebeest is a badge of honor for me!)
  • Drop-waisted dresses
  • Walking everywhere 
  • Spicy Food 

Five things I Wish I Had Started Sooner: 

  • Circuit training. I hate it but you need it to tone.
  • Juicing and smoothies. I really enjoy them, and it’s a great way to get your veggies!
  • Eating spicy food. I used to think that flavor had to come from a butter or cream sauce, but it turns out it’s actually spices!
  • Worrying LESS about the scale and more about the fit of the clothes, the endurance of my body, etc.
  • Bikram Yoga. I was so intimidated, but it’s such a GREAT workout!

And lastly, the “Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me or DID Tell Me Along the Way”:
   

    
   
I’ve made myself another goal: Drop 1-2 pants sizes and another 22.8lbs. So stick around – we’re not done yet! 😃