On December 29, 2011 I decided to take control of my life and committed to a lifestyle change. I had a starting weight of 284lbs, but pictures suggest I was a bit heavier the year before, I just never weighed myself. Within the first year, I had lost 100lbs and continued with my losses, hitting my “half my original weight “goal after losing another 42lbs the next year.At 142lbs, my 5’6 and muscular framed body looked very skinny. This is the part of my journey where I got hit with “You are sooooo tiny” and even more “you’re done losing weight, right?” on a regular basis. I remember my mom commenting on how skinny my forearm was once. I remember wearing size 8 jeans and the crotch of the jeans sagging and the thighs being loose. I was so excited to reach my goal, but I had no real reason for setting that goal other than it was exactly half of where I started. I also felt like the more weight i lost, the less fat there would be in my loose skin, and the less it would hang. For my body, this didn’t turn out to be true. Almost immediately after hitting my goal, I started putting weight back on. I would say it was self sabotage, really. I was so uncomfortable being skinny, often times in a literal sense. I couldn’t sit or lie on surfaces that weren’t cushioned, because my bones dug into them. I was mad about the lack of magic elasticity showing up to make my skin “snap back” at a 50% loss, and the weight crept back on slowly but surely.
After about a year I found myself fluctuating between 165-173lbs and I was a lot more comfortable there. I finally had skin removal surgery on my thighs and stomach in October 2014 and after I healed, began lifting weights and focusing on toning and shaping my body.During 2015, I kept up the same trends, working to shape my body and become stronger. I finally started to see real progress in shaping my previously nonexistent butt, my thighs took on a beautiful shape, and I finally was able to do some real push ups without my knees down. But by the end of the year I was no longer really fluctuating between the 160s and 170s, though. I was always within a pound or two of 175lbs and okay with it.
Then came 2016 and although I didn’t recognize it for quite a while, I really started to struggle. 2016 and now, 2017, have been the hardest years of my journey which is surprising since you’d think year one would be more of a struggle than year 5 and 6. Weight loss is by no means easy, and i don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but weight loss maintenance is even harder. That’s why people can lose the same 20lbs 20x. It’s hard, but not that hard to lose 20lbs. What is hard, is keeping it off.
I have tried to not focus on the number on the scale too much this year, but i was humbled last week with the reality check i really needed. I went for a personal training session and the first thing they did was put my on the scale. I weighed in at 201lbs on the scale at YouFit. I knew my jeans were no longer comfortable and they give me a muffin top when I sit down. I knew I no longer felt as confident in a bikini and my butt has a little more cellulite on it these days. I knew my size 12 jeans are no longer loose, and when I do wear jeans, I grab those or jeggings before my old favorite size 8’s. But i had NO idea I had put on that much weight. I never in a million years anticipated I would ever see a 200 anything on a scale again unless maybe I was pregnant. I was shocked and having never even spoke to this trainer before, didn’t even feel like I could express to him how fucked up that had me. When i got home from the gym i hopped on my own scale and realized although I was NOT 200lbs, YouFit’s scale was definitely not broken. My own scale, that I trust and love, showed I was 199lbs.So you’re probably thinking, how did this happen?? I really had to make sense of this too, so some brain storming was a must. I feel like I have narrowed it down and would like to share not only for my own growth, but so you can watch out for these patterns and behaviors in your own journey. Maybe it will be easier for you to recognize whether you’re actually being body positive or in whether you’re in denial that you’re not doing what you should be in order to truly live a healthy life.
Too Many Treats
I very much understand what moderation is. It means we allow ourselves to eat unhealthy or junk foods and drinks here and there. For the most successful parts of my journey, I allowed myself to have one treat day a week. I would have a treat meal and dessert or drinks. What moderation is not, is allowing yourself to have just a little bit of junk, every time the opportunity presents itself. So often when we turn down junk people remind us to “use moderation” and that “one bite won’t hurt” and I started to tell myself that as well. I didn’t like only being able to treat one day a week. I wanted to be a “normal person” and not have to turn down all the goodies the world offered me. So i started telling myself it was basically okay to indulge when given an opportunity as long as i didn’t binge. I credit myself because having one donut is a much healthier choice than binging on a dozen donuts, but I was having “one donut” too often. Which brings me to the next issue…
I Stopped Tracking My Meals
I still made at the very least, a loose meal plan every week, however, I was no longer tracking as i ate. As previously stated, i wanted to a “normal person” and not break out a tracker every time i put food in my mouth, but i know better. While I was losing weight, every time i stopped tracking I would stop losing. I thought i could go without tracking if i just wanted to maintain, but the scale has determined that was a lie. As i mention in my ebook, when I don’t track I am really good at over or under eating- very rarely do i have a perfectly on track day by coincidence. So not only do i not know when i am over eating or under eating, but since I am not actually tracking, its easy to not realize I’m having too many treats. When i dont track its easy to say “its just one cookie” but if i am tracking my food its much easier to realize “i’ve had ‘just one,” every day this week.”
I Have Leaky Gut Syndrome
After years of misdiagnosis and symptoms I couldn’t understand, I finally determined last year that I have a leaky gut. This means my gut has a high permeability and therefore enzymes and proteins from my food that are not supposed to leak into my bloodstream, do. This causes food sensitivities which lead to digestion problems and major bloating and inflammation. Before I figured it out, the bloating really got to me. I would eat healthy all day long and at the end of the day, look 3-5 months pregnant. I’d wake up the next morning looking normal and start all over again. So many days, by the end of the day, I’d be giving into my cravings and not even care. My logic was if i am going to look pregnant eating super clean anyways, I might as well eat the junk. After almost a year of discomfort and no diagnosis, i ordered an ALCAT test and discovered I had over 40 food sensitivities to almost all the healthy foods i eat regularly. The bloating and acne (leaky gut messes with your hormones,too) now made sense. I was actually relieved to figure this out because it meant I could do something about it. But then…
I Binged… A Lot.
Doing something about my leaky gut meant following a very strict diet to heal the lining. I couldn’t eat any of the foods I was sensitive to, no matter how healthy they may be, for at least 90 days. I also couldn’t take medicine or eat gluten or sugar or alcohol. I added LGlutamine, pre and probiotics and fermented foods to my diet and committed to it for 107 days. In those 107 days I didn’t get very bloated. I could tell my body was burning fat and after the initial withdrawal, I felt better than ever. But when i finally decided to have a treat after running my halloween half marathon, it was like i opened the floods gates to hell. I couldn’t stop binging. I found myself binging several times a week, for months. Even worse was that although my stool suggested some improvements in my digestion with over 100 days of eating for Leaky Gut, the bloat never went away away and to this day i am still experiencing as much bloat when I eat a cheat meal as when i eat healthy foods that were once a staple in my diet.
I Stopped Weighing In Regularly
Because I wasn’t losing weight anymore, weighing in weekly was no longer a part of my routine. I told myself I didn’t want to “obsess over the number on the scale” but the truth is, I was never obsessed. I was aware. And when I did see the numbers rise I would allow myself to accept all the excuses of the internet (no offense.) “You’ve gained muscle and its heavier than fat.” If that is how I gained 3lbs in a week than i should probably write the book on body building because anyone who actually knows about gains knows that hell will freeze over before most people will put on THREE POUNDS (or even 1lb) of solid muscle in a single week “The number on the scale doesn’t matter anyway.” You’re right about that, it doesn’t matter when we are talking about my value as a human being or my fitness level; I am definitely more fit right now than I was at my skinniest. But it does matter in the event of tracking my maintenance. Yes, its ridiculous to get upset or allow a couple pound fluctuation to ruin your day… But feeling some type of way because the scale has made your aware you’re 30lbs heavier than you’d like to be is not equivalent to being obsessed with your weight. I told myself, and other cosigned, that I was releasing myself from the scale. In reality, I was in denial about what the scale was showing and that was a perfect excuse to stop reminding myself I was steadily gaining weight, on a regular basis.
Lack Of Activity
In January 2016 I officially retired from the salon and became a full time weight loss mentor who now does hair on the side, instead of vice versa. Although for the most part, this has been an amazing transition, it also means I am working from the computer blogging or emailing or Skyping most of the time. This is a whole lot less active than running around the salon and blow drying all day. Before I would be on my feet at the salon for 8-12 hours a day and then come home and got for a run and workout and do whatever else I needed to do. Nowadays not only am i so much less active in my every day life, but I do much less cardio in my workouts than I used to! The week before my skin removal I ran a marathon that I had trained for the 5 months prior. After surgery I couldn’t exercise for 2 months and once i could, my lung capacity was so much less i couldn’t breath when I tried to run. Between the struggle to breath and my new interest in weight training, after surgery I just never really got back into cardio. It’s been two years since I had my surgery, but I do believe my change in activity level has contributed to my gain.
It’s Been An Emotional Year
In 2016 I really dove into my spirituality for the first time in my life, and also started to focus a lot more on my personal development opposed to just my physical. Many times when we are breaking through old barriers and working through old feelings, things actually feel like they’re getting worse instead of better. Over the last year I have dove into different types of coaching, therapy, and group support to overcome childhood trauma resulting from my father abandoning me at 3 years old, followed by being kissed by a day care counselor the following year. These are things I have previously either not acknowledged bothered me or even happened but as I grow and mature I see the effects these events still have on my life, coming up on 29 years old, and I recognize the need to work through them and re-write my story. In 2016, my sister met our father, which caused an erruption of pain I didn’t know I even had inside of me and although I have chosen not to meet my father yet, I did meet one of my half siblings. In the long term, I know dealing with all of this is going to make me a happier and healthier woman, but in the meantime learning how to cope with the pain without eating my feelings or self harming like i may have in the past, is a serious struggle I am still working to over come.
Lack Of Accountability
This one is funny because I have an accountability group on Facebook and I offer DietBet games to keep people accountable for their losses on a regular basis. A year ago I began offering one on one sessions to people who are losing weight, to help them set and stay accountable for their goals. However, during the time that my focus shifted to offering opportunities to help others hold themselves accountable, I forgot to take advantage myself. I don’t use instagram and facebook to hold myself accountable like i used to. I don’t blog to hold myself accountable like I used to. I dont have an accountability buddy or a go to person to vent or share all my small victories with, like i used to. Accountability is SO important. I know this! But as with most things in life, it is easier to remember others need to do it than to remember to do it myself. But this is one of the main reasons I am even writing this blog post. To put my business out there and hold myself accountable the way I used to in the beginning of my journey.
I’ve had a really good couple days since my reality check on Monday. I had no intentions of getting a trainer, but was given the opportunity and now I feel like the universe gave me exactly what I needed. Had i not had to weigh in infront of a complete stranger who was not going to make any excuses for me, I am not sure how much longer this charade was going to continue. I have only strayed from my eating plan once since then, even though I have had more than a couple temptations. I am starting every morning with a guided meditation and continuing to workout hard (interestingly enough, I have never slacked on my workouts this whole time I have been gaining. Weight loss really is so much more about food than exercise.)I am back to drinking tea regularly (BGFG for 10% off TeamiBlends) and am using a new app called YouAte to track my food without the pressure of calorie counting. I have a Color Run and Spartan Race coming up this weekend, but am going to workout a training schedule for myself that includes weights as well as cardio to make sure I do what I need to do in order to get where I want to be, even after training for these races is over.
I have no desire to get back down to 140lbs. I do think I want to be around 160-165 but I am not even so set on that. This is the part where I say “the scale doesnt matter” and it’s not an excuse to deny weight gain. Whatever weight I am when I can throw on any outfit and feel confident again, is a good a weight for me. Any weight I weigh after I have burned off this new roll of back fat, I am okay with. If i weigh 175lbs and no longer have a muffin top when I sit down, I am cool with that. I just want to feel good about my body again. I have still been celebrating the things I love about it all along, but as terrible as it sounds, there was so much more i used to love. I love my body as a whole; i appreciate its strength and endurance and my health. But, i want to like the way my body looks, too. I am lucky enough to have experienced that before and I know that I feel like that when I treating my body well, regardless of what the number says. Here’s to using the notes in this blog post to get back to truly treating my body well. When I live healthy, i feel great, and when I feel great, I reach my goals. I am ready to get back to that.