Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Difference a Year Can Make (and yes this means I am putting my fat pic out there for the world to see)

This is one of those things I have been dreading since I started down the path to wellness. As part of my ownership of where I was and how far I have come, I feel that making my journey public has held me accountable to where I am going and not giving up. So I guess that means I have to share the terrible awful picture that made me get off my ass and do something (although I would rather burn it and delete off of hard drives than actually put it on the internet for the masses to see.) So here it goes....

I guess I could have blamed it on baby weight (and that was part of the problem) but I had always lived a super busy, crazy, never home, living out of my car kind of life. I worked non-stop, often at least two jobs or I was working and going to school full time. I didn't eat. And when I did it was take out, from the food court at the mall (I worked retail management for almost 7 years) or from the pretzel stand outside of our store. But I was always on my feet, so I didn't suffer from the ill effects of the way I was eating until later on. It wasn't until I was in a super stressful, crazy work situation that I started to gain weight. (Don't get me wrong, my weight has fluctuated my whole life, up and down like crazy, but in my 20's living a go-go-go-go life and consuming more calories in alcohol than actual food, I was hanging steady at a size 6/8 and wasn't thrilled but wasn't unhappy enough to change my lifestyle either.) I gained about 20 pounds and I couldn't get it to go away. I was working out like crazy with no results. So I quit. I figured why bust my ass when it isn't getting any smaller anyway.

A few years later I left my job to go back and get my masters (again another going to school full time with a full time internship--just my kind of crazy.) I got married and was still hanging onto the 20 pounds or so I gained a few years back and just couldn't get rid of. But at this point, I was too worried about going out and drinking microbrews and going to wine tastings than really focusing on what was going on. I also couldn't find a job with my new fancy masters degree, so I was nannying. Sitting on the floor (or couch) at someone else's house, playing with their kids and all that awesome kid junk food laying around (stuff my mom would never buy me growing up, ever.) And then I got pregnant. So add on the 38 pounds I gained with that and we arrive at that dreaded picture (I still don't want to acknowledge.)

That picture was taken on the Fourth of July 2012 which we spent in the Pacific Northwest. I had a dear friend of mine come out for the weekend so we were doing all sorts of fun touristy things (including taking lots of pictures). She sent me all the pictures she took of our time there a month or two later and I remember the gauntlet of feelings I had when I saw that picture. Disbelief, embarrassment, shame and then finally deciding I had to do something, anything. How had I gotten so out of control?

So I dusted off a copy of P90x that belonged to my hubby and stuck it out for about 3 weeks. I started
having pains in my abdomen that were terrible. I thought it was from the exercise and we had spent a weekend cleaning out my grandfather's house, so I was convinced I pulled something. The pain became spasms and then turned into full out attacks that were paralyzing and extremely painful. I went to the doctor and he immediately said it was my gall bladder. I was put on a no fat diet. I was pretty much eating oatmeal for every meal and the attacks just kept getting worse until at one point I had to call an ambulance. I was scheduled for surgery the next day. Through that whole mess I actually ended up losing about 12 pounds and went down a jean size. By the time all of this happened, it was November and cue the holidays. My weight loss (and smaller jean size) were short lived. By January, I was almost back to where I was in July.

Once the holidays were over, I knew I had to do something. I purchased a groupon for a morning bootcamp. 5 days a week at 5:30 in the morning. I thought maybe in doing something drastic, it would finally make a difference. I felt like no matter what I tried, or did, it didn't work. I spent a whole month busting my butt in this class. I was glad to see that I could hang (all that working out with Jillian Michaels paid off even if it wasn't consistent) but I didn't lose any weight. Not a pound. Not a half a pound.  Unfortunately, I hadn't learned about the other ways to measure progress (measurements, calipers, old jeans that didn't used to fit.) So I was angry, frustrated and quite frankly desperate.

Desperate enough that I logged on and ordered Insanity. I thought doing bootcamp workouts were going to be crazy and intense enough to finally work, so I my next logical thought was that if Insanity is supposed to be one of the hardest programs out there something HAS to happen. And it didn't.

I went for 3 weeks. I loved the intensity. I loved the fact that all I wanted to do was lay on the floor and not move when it was over. I loved that feeling of giving it all until I had nothing left to give. So if that was what I was doing, why was nothing happening?

So I emailed someone I used to work with who I knew was coaching. I signed up for a free account with her, joined a challenge group, added Shakeology and discovered clean eating. That in combination with the second half of Insanity resulted in a loss of 9 lbs, 9.5 inches overall including 2 inches off my waist. I was thrilled. (You can read more about my experience with Insanity here.) After Insanity I moved onto TurboFire and continued to see great results (a 5 pound weight loss in the first month!)

While I am no where near where I want to be, I thought it was important to reflect on how far I have come. I tend to just keep looking at where I want to go next, the next goal, the next program, the next size down and never look back. In doing this and consciously looking back, I have been able to see exactly what I have accomplished. Over the last few months, I have plateaued, switched programs due to an injury, adjusted to life back in Pittsburgh and the additional responsibilities I have here. But I have kept going, I keep pushing play, I keep cleaning up my eating and am finding new ways to motivate myself and others. I am running my own challenge groups now that allow people to pick goals, stick with them and stay motivated. They were a key piece in the puzzle for me and I am so glad to be able to possibly do this for someone else (and keep myself motivated at the same time).

If you are interested in joining me in a challenge group please send me a message or an email to I have new groups starting each month and I would love to continue on the journey with you! (To read about my October challenges click here.)

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