Can We Settle for a Quickie?

Update, that is!

I have a much longer post ready to publish, mainly on what has changed in my journey and what impacted that change, but I thought before I go on a long awaited tropic vacation, I would send out some info on how the heck things have been.  Time off has come to an end.  Kick-ass mode has been in full effect since my sabbatical started on February 6th.  I have been writing, feverishly, and will slowly publish and as topics come up, I will continue to interact with you.

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I recommitted to myself on February 6… It was a random date.  Starting weight was actually 218.4 (this picture was taken before my Juice Cleanse – more on that later!)

When I hit the PUBLISH button 202

Down 16.4

I am so close to that “1” I feel like bursting!!!

Would like to dedicate this win/loss to my li’l bro down South. Hope you are reading this.  You encouraged me back to the iron, your story continues to inspire me and your friendship has meant a lot to me! Thank you!

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Did a fun, chilly photo shoot for one of my favourite photographers, Julia (see her Facebook page here).  It was a great experience and one of my bucket list items!  This was my fave of all the photogs’ pictures.  And I post this, not only for the narcissist in me as I really like this picture, but because this reflects  something I love.  I am an extremely passionate person and doing things that tap into that part of me is important (and if I can avoid getting arrested again, the better)  I loved this.  I love Julia and I look forward to my next shoot with her in May.

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I continue to laugh daily.  And while nothing has necessarily changed in the that department, I am learning to find more joy in what I do and experience.  There’s a lot of shit in the world and you can easily go through the day without stopping and experiencing the wonderful around you.  To steal a line from “Her” (a movie I watched and sobbed at), “I’ve just come to realize that, we’re only here briefly. And while I’m here, I wanna allow myself joy. So fuck it.”  Keep laughing.

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I learned to put me first. And guess what?  Without guilt!! Having a crying daughter at the door on my way out to Zumba one night forced me to make a decision.  And that decision was to explain why I had to go.  She understood and gave me a big hug and kiss on my way out.  Great moment in both our lives.

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I completely-ish changed my eating habits for a committed 30 days, that has continued. More on this in my next post, but do yourself a favour and think about how your nutrition is effecting your body.  It has taken me two years to do this and I’m happy with the change.

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I was able to reflect on some pretty deep shit, and realized most elements in your life are easily repeated unless you’re willing to change something.  It’s a good lesson. I have focussed mostly on my relationships and it has been an eye-opener.  Change the parts of the equation and the results will change.

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The Power of the Plan has worked.  A good friend reminded me that consistency is key.  I have fallen short of this for so long.  I am now consistent, focussing daily on my goals.  “One pound at a time”.

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I continued with my 100 miles challenge – I wont finish in the 100 days, but I don’t really care.  It  motivated me to stick with cardio (along with some Zumba) and have seen crazy results in my lifts.  For the little time that has passed, really, working out is now habit.  It wont EVER come second fiddle to anything

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I have always struggled with showing my vulnerable side to people.  My strong, stoic front, much like my weight, has always served a valuable purpose to me.  I let my guard down with someone with whom I got close fairly quickly.  In doing so, I was faced with some lessons on my part.  And while I got hurt or maybe avoided future hurt, I am only taking this as yet another lesson in the journey that is ME.  I will continue to practice my vulnerability and I am sure, like anything else, it will become easier. I will miss them incredibly, but know paths will cross again when the time is right.

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And I feel in love again.  My broken heart was not caused by any one or any thing  in particular, but I was feeling kinda bruised.  Learning to put me first before others was a grand lesson and in that lesson, I have learned to love myself.  I started listening to what others saw in me and I started to believe some of it; internalizing positives can make a big difference. Thank you for believing in me ❤

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And I realized, I like to write.  If I end up being both the writer and the only reader, I don’t care.  My story is worth sharing as it may, hopefully, inspire someone else out there to make the positive changes in their life that they deserve.  I may not be EPIC, but at least I’m doing something I love.

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Thanks for the encouragement.  Axo

The Gastro Void

“I moan with pleasure.
“Did you just have a foodgasm?” he asks, wiping ricotta from his lips.
“Where have you been all my life?” I ask the beautiful panini.”
― Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss

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This is a stark reality.  We love food.  We feel it.  We crave it.  We want it.  We celebrate with it.  We mourn with it.  We marry it, partner with it for life and take it with us to the grave.

I have loved food from the moment I can remember.  There’s a photo of my brother and I when my parents were still together – taken in the Living Room of our old house out in the boonies, by a professional photographer.  I bawled because I didn’t want to sit on the furry stool waiting for us.  I was dressed up in a mint green polyester dress with my blond ringlets and matching green bows (a clear indication of my rebellious self of my 30s!).

In the photo, however, 33 years later, you can see the recognizable silver and red packaging of the KitKat hidden in my hand.  Why was it there?  I was given the chocolate bar so I would sit and stop being a pain.  Emotional comforting from food, even at the age of 3…

Now, whether or not you want to face facts, we are overweight for a reason.  It is rarely glandular, or genetics, or because we are big framed.  It’s because we eat, have low self esteem and fail to move our bodies.  You can argue with me if you like, but on average, this is why.

Why we eat – well, that’s for your to figure out.  Maybe with some soul searching, asking family members of your past, through couselling, but the long and short of it is, we eat for a reason.  For me, fast forward a few years from the mint green dress and I was faced with something no 8 year old (or anyone for that matter) should be faced with in life.  A turning point that forced me to seek comfort because I was lost, stripped of my innocence and left with no protection around me.  What does a young girl do?  The absolute feeling of helplessness is terrifying.  At such a young age, it’s not possible to logically work through what had taken place.  I needed, at least the appearance of, that protection and comfort back in my life fast – and I found it in food.  My blanket.  My friend.

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Then 30+ years later, see a morbidly obese, super fun and happy on the surface 30 something and my relationship with food continued to get serious – like real serious.  The best love affair possible.  It had gotten so bad, that I’m fairly certain I would leave my body when I ate.  That, my friend, is true detachment.  And distortion when it came to self-image.  At my heaviest, I thought I looked my best.  Riddle me that!

FOOD

fo͞od/
noun
noun: food; plural noun: foods
  1. 1.
    any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

Crazy  to think that food is really around to maintain life.  When that shift happened for me, and it JUST DID about a month ago, that comfort that I once received from food was no longer.  I eat according to what I’m doing in my day.  If I know I’m on my treddie for 35 minutes and lifting until I want to cry for an hour, then I will eat to fuel that activity.  If it’s a day where I’m sitting at my desk with a Zumba class and some push ups and squats to get off my ass, I’m eating a bit less.  Food = Fuel.  That. Is. It.

I attempted for over two years with no success to will myself into thinking food as fuel, but I didn’t believe it or at least I didn’t want to believe it.  I loved chocolate.  I was addicted to pasta.  I ate oil-popped popcorn with a cup of butter and salt every night. I wasn’t ready to say good bye to all that, regardless of the fact that my stomach was half way down my thighs and I was a quarter inch away from needing that extra piece for the airplane seat buckle.   All that is gone now because I came to know that I needed food for what it was there to do – its purpose;  to move and grow and repair my body.  But, this left me scared.  Of what?  I will tell you.

At night we are cozy and warm in our beds.  Whether you’re sharing your bed with someone or not, there is a comfort knowing that for the next six – eight hours, hopefully, you will be resting, your body covered in the best possible sheets and blankets, the room dark, and nothing but the sound of your breath easing you into sandland.  Then, you need to wake.

You need to strip your blankets, emerge from your nighttime cocoon, and leave the comfort to start your day.

For those of us who have used food for comfort, our day if filled with many moments of feeling that warm bed.  Knowing that no matter what, we are safe.  We are safe from whatever it is the outside world wants from us, protected to not feel lonely or sad or left out.  Our food is our comfort.  But to leave that behind, to shift from having a “something” that makes you feel safe, to letting go of that, can leave anyone feeling lost.  So what do we do as weight-loss warriors, victors of our own fate and destiny.  What I’m beginning to see and believe, is that if we don’t find comfort in ourselves, we can easily go elsewhere.  And that, my friends, is not what this is all about.

COM.FORT
ˈkəmfərt/
noun
  1. 1.
    a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
    “room for four people to travel in comfort”
  2. 2.
    consolation for grief or anxiety.
    “a few words of comfort” 
verb
  • 1.
  1. 1.
    make (someone) feel less unhappy; console.
    “she broke down in tears and her friend tried to comfort her”

I have seen obesity survivors turn to many different things to offer them the comfort they once found in food.  Take away a blanket and you’re bound to get cold.  Looking for love and acceptance.  That is one I have seen.  If you are continually looking for someone else to give you the feeling that food once did, you will become just as emotionally dependent on that person as you were with food.  And guess what, people are a lot more volatile than food would have ever been.  They talk.  They disappoint.  They can easily become something that no longer fits on your wish list.  So, filling that void with with love or sex or companionship, may actually end up being a pretty big risk.  Think about it.

I have seen others turn to strict, regimented routines as it removes the possibility of surprise or disappointment.  A sense of comfort in knowing what’s to come and what the plan is is a good thing.  Is this terrible?  I dunno.  What happens if you’re sick or step on an tack and can’t make it to your archery lesson?  Comfort in routines I get, but there may be some risk in putting all your warm and fuzzies into your schedule and planner.

Where  or how do we console then?  Well, I guess we all eventually need to learn to comfort ourselves. And I’m certain this can be learned.  I am doing it now.  The love and support you once found in food, can only be found within.  And until you find that source of strength, you will be looking feverishly to fill that empty hole that food was always there to fill.  Take solitude in yourself.  And feel what it is you’re feeling and respond.  And know it is okay to be alone with that….  Not this way though.

6a820887a14a531a8f5c5bac1aae6469When I’m feeling a bit off, or can’t figure out what’s going on in my soul or brain, I retreat.  My bedroom if I can, or the back of the party, or hiding in the storage closet (if you can’t find me, I disappear often for multiple reasons. It’s what I do).  I listen to what’s going on in my head.  Before, it would be slab on the Skippy peanut butter on a piece of bread and continue on until the loaf was gone.  Now, I need to stop, recognize what I’m feeling and really talk myself happy.

I hope, for all of you who have left your extra weight behind for good, that you have found or at least are searching for what it was that food once gave you – not in something external, but in you.  I hope you learn to find your power and strength in yourself, and not in booze, or drugs, or sex or dare-devilish acts!  It’s a big step leaving food to its purpose.  But for me, it was just as big and scary to realize I had the power to leave it behind, and even more power to know I can get myself through on my own.

Keep keeping it real.

Axo

The Circumstances vs. Desires of Weight Loss and Change

I had taken a bit of a self-imposed break from writing for a while, and I had actually prepared a “welcome back to the blog” post, but something isn’t right with it and while I want to share all the amazing things that have happened over the last seven weeks, today I choose to post this one instead.  I wrote it a while back, but I think there’s enough of you out there right now that have been contacting me about my journey – and while I’m no shrink, I wanted to post this as a response to your questions.  I would have never gone through this thought process two years ago but I do offer you a chance to sit with yourself a while and really understand why you want to make those changes in your life.

I haven’t talked about this in depth as of yet, because quite honestly it’s really embarrassing and sitting on this thought as long as I have, has made me realize the importance of writing about it.

The other night (again these posts are from a few weeks back), I was messaging a friend who is on her own weight loss journey and has been faced with a fork – I call it fork, she may call it roadblock; quite honestly it’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Nonetheless, she was at a perfect standstill that we have all be at before, feeling, in her own words, “lost”.  I immediately related.  So we continued to chat.  And feelings came out… Ugh.  Don’t you hate that?

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I confessed to her that over 8 months ago, a family member accused me of putting my head in the sand – that this “exercise thing” that I was doing was merely a distraction in order to not have to deal with the real shit that has been going on in my life.  WOW.  I immediately dismissed this because it was clearly bullshit and moved on.  Now, it has taken 8 months and someone else close to me asking, “Well, are you distracting yourself”, for me to realize this whole journey (until February at least) has kinda been a series of small distractions (with some pretty amazing results) in order for me to avoid what has really been going on!

As always, my writing is more stream of consciousness than anything, but I always attempt to needle back the threads to somehow have a few stitches together that make sense, so bare with me.

The Blog.  The Social Media distractions.  The lack of movement forward in my fuel and activity.  Broken relationships.  All, kinda, sorta may be larger distractions in the greater need to be with me.

I started this journey without a why (see previous post – Counter Sex & Other Limitations).  Strike 1?  Maybe…

I continued this journey without any real education or interest in changing my eating habits.  Strike 2?  Possibly…

I did certify as a Personal Trainer, but for what reason?  Ugh, I don’t know.  Strike 3?  Most likely…

greatness-is-not-a-function-of-circumstance-jim-collinsWe are then brought back to where I am now.  What the conversation with my friend lent me to truly believe is that any change in life needs to be for YOU.  Not your husband and his ability to lift you up on the counter for sex.  Not your wife so she loves you any more.  Not even your kids (even though this is a great motivator)… Because remove those ‘distractions’ from the equation, and guess what, you’re left with you.  And unless you are doing it for you, the journey wont be much of a journey.

We can also call these distractions pure circumstance.  Hearing from a fellow weight loss survivor, his external motivator at the beginning of his journey was an attempt to repair his broken marriage.  Circumstance.  Remove that distraction/circumstance, what is he left with?  Him.  And he needed to believe his worth of this new life.  And with my friend, I wondered if all the attempts of ‘doing’ were just mere distractions and circumstance and by no means a way to get to the real why.

So we are left with, then…

Circumstance vs. Desire.  Do I do something because it’s convenient or apparent at the time or do I do something because every cell in my body tingles at the thought of accomplishing it?

Mine – circumstance.

In July of 2011, I won a Makeover Contest at a local women’s health studio.  I was at my heaviest, just having given birth a few months prior to my second blessing.  I was awkward and uncomfortable.  And with the changes in my body after my baby, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee.  I was almost immobile at the age of 35.  I lived the better part of my mat-leave days on the main floor of my house because stairs were impossible.  I accommodated my disability and continued to eat to numb and stay fairly immobile.

I was elated that I had won this.  It was my chance.  But as I sit here a couple years and months later, I wonder where I would be today if circumstances had not presented themselves.

Would I be over 300 lbs today?  Would my knees be so terribly bad, walking my kids to school would literally be impossible?  And a run?  Not a chance in hell.  If I was ever faced with a zombie apocalypse, I  would be the meaty-bodied woman with the delicious smart brains they could easily feast on. Would I be so heavy and disconnected with my body that I would still be depressed doing a job every day that I knew was sucking the last breaths out of my already deteriorating body?  Maybe.

I am thankful for the circumstances of that contest, and quite honestly, for what it gave me.  Confidence in losing my first 20 lbs and the knowledge to continue on my own; courage to leave my job;  interest in pursing another career and all the opportunities that have presented themselves to me up to this point.  These are ALL good things.  No doubt.

The embarrassing thing is, 70+ lbs later, I have been stuck for a long time because it was not my DESIRE that fueled my journey, but quite honestly, the commitment to my circumstances that moved me forward.  The foundation, for me at least, wasn’t right.  So the continued journey could no longer go on.

God, don’t strike me down for typing that.  I know I have inspired a few people around me  to continue to do better for their health and I am so honoured to have been a part of that inspiration (but only you have the motivation to continue).  I feel like a little bit of a sham though, a con artist who up until this point, was not doing this for the right reasons.

Did my circumstances outweigh my desire?  The answer to this is yes.

Quotation-Euginia-Herlihy-desire-inspirational-Meetville-Quotes-119137I got a glimpse of a weight loss surgery show the other night and circumstance for this particular person was that she had the funding for the surgery.  She had the surgery and her caloric intake was such that it was very restrictive, but she found herself going back to the old way of eating.  Now, I don’t judge… but I do know, clearly from sitting in the confessional with you a few times through this blog and here today, that if your desire is not greater than the circumstances that surround you, no possible fix will work.

Find the desire. Find the fire that makes every decision lend in favour of you and your goals.

I have seen some people succeed greatly, like super greatly.  Fitness and weight loss goals set and met.  Nutritional boundaries never crossed.  Backing out of relationships that no longer serve them (which is brave).  And all because of circumstance.  An opportunity. And I commend you for your success.  But my worry in this is until the mental work is done, until the WHY is the desire to make change, where will you be in a year?  Or two?

This is burning desire!

This is burning desire!

Where am I today?  I have taken the lessons of my 70 pound loss and the bumps along the way to find out my WHY and for me it’s about living a life without limitations.  And that’s my desire now.  Circumstances will never win over what I want most.  Circumstance is the social event that is only serving pasta – well my desire won that night.  I ate the entire serving bowl of salad.  Circumstance is having wine and beer around you when your family is over.  Desire is sticking with water and lemon.  Circumstance is having a hang over and wanting to sleep in.  Desire is still getting my tired ass to the gym to sweat out the cocktails from the night before.  Circumstance vs. Desire.  Find it and learning the difference is pretty amazing.

So back to putting my head in the sand. Maybe the last two years HAS been a distraction, but I know where I am now.  And while my life is far from perfect, I am learning to face fears that I would not have before.  Say good bye to those who need to hear it.  Put myself first. Accepting things I have no control over.  And taking responsibility for the only thing I can really in life – me and where I’m headed.

There are a lot of mental cobwebs that need to be permanently cleaned out before you are able to make room for anything positive in your roladex of greatness.  Once the cobwebs are gone and the nooks and crannies of your life are clear and free, desire, true gut-wrenching, get the fuck out of my way, desire will take control.  And man, you better watch out.

It is good to be back.  I have lots to share of where I am today vs. February 6 (when I broke up with myself).  I will share soon!  And thank you.  Thanks for staying loyal to at least the spirit of my blog and message and I hope you continue to find a little something in what I have come to realize is just one girl’s experience on a long road towards change.images (6)

And it’s always worth adding a little Will Farrell…

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Thanks for reading,

Axo