how did you do it? and other questions I can’t answer right now

For awhile I will try to keep my posts to about just training and fitness. It’s something I don’t mind talking about – and if I get a chance to sit down and talk to someone about how to improve overall health and wellness and fitness, then I’m super happy to do so. But talking specifically about how I did it is not my favorite topic because I am still uncomfortable talking about myself with someone face-to-face about it all. But I’ll write an email or blog post about it if you ask lol.

I get asked a lot – especially from people who have not seen me for awhile – how I lost weight and got fit. Depending on my mood that day, I will either just say that I worked out a lot, worked with a trainer for a few months, and changed the way I ate or I will take time to explain with details about the (obsessive) running and strength training and learning how to do things properly from a trainer before jumping into it all head first like I normally do. And sometimes I just say, “I busted my ass obsessively” and leave it at that.

My point here is that it’s hard for me to talk about it because I always get self-conscious and a little embarrassed when people ask me about it. In fact, it took me a long time to not say “oh, it’s all because of my trainer” when someone asked about it or told me I looked good/nice/healthy/fit instead of just saying “thank you” and not make an excuse of why it wasn’t me who did the work. And once I hit the 100lb mark, I really cut back on the working out and training because of a lot of emotional and mental health problems and also because I did that in 8 and a half months – and yes, you’re right: that’s batshit crazy unhealthy.

But now I know how to do it right. I’ve spent the last 3 months researching the hell out of it – it is what I do best after all – and learning, learning, learning. I have taken the things I have learned along the way from living through it, from the trainer, from articles, from books, from doctors, etc. and am now putting it all together to keep myself healthy and moving forward with training. I stopped training with a personal trainer months ago and I had to start convincing myself that I was in fact capable of doing it on my own. That may sound easy but it was really hard for me to learn that. Once I conquered that – with the help of an awesome friend and my husband – I was able to put together workout programs, fitness plans, etc. for myself and I now share information with others (DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified trainer yet so it’s just me sharing information with friends…not training them).

That’s all I can say about my training for now. We’ll talk fitness and eating and training more later. And I’ll do it with less text…we definitely need to get some links and photos in here – otherwise this blog is just going to be chapters in a novel. 😉

 

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There’s Always Time for Truth

A couple of months ago, WordPress emailed to say my subscription was due – to renew my domain name so I could still own refractionofmelia.com and use it. I ignored it for a long time because I had not written in it for so long and had forgot I even owned a blog. But I renewed it, thinking that one day I might write in it again. I guess that’s today.

It has been a year. Almost to the dot – I looked at my last post and it was August 10th of last year. I do not even know how to begin the update. Probably 100 million things have happened in the last 12 month to my health, running, weight, mental health, emotional well-being, and family & friends. It’s just too much for one post. Hell, it might be too much for one blog.

So I will start slow. I can’t guarantee I’ll be here every day writing nor that it will always be exciting. It might actually be depressing and sad and infuriating sometimes but I promise you it will be a story of a journey from top to bottom to even lower than bottom to practically burned to ashes. But it will include success, too. And resurrection. And stories of the most amazing friends and family and forgiveness and support that you will have ever heard. And truth. I promise it will be nothing but honest.

Honesty Truth #1:

Sometimes It Really Sucks To Lose Weight

Honesty Truth #2:  

You Learn Who Your Friends Are When You Set Your Life On Fire

Honesty Truth #3:  

Stubbornness Causes Cortisone Shots

Honesty Truth #4:

You Have To Just Breathe

I started this blog years ago about being obese, losing weight, and trying to run a half marathon. I will now have to begin again with a brief update. Later I will write more about my Honesty Truths listed above but for now, you should know that I am no longer obese. I have in fact lost 100lbs and after being a size 22/24, I am now a 9 or an 11 depending on what type of clothing I am wearing. I will talk about how I did it and how (unhealthily so) quickly I did it and everything & everyone who played a part in that journey. But not today. Today I will end by saying that I hope you’ll read about my journey and comment and question along the way – I don’t mind answering your questions. Today I will end with a photo that is my before/after – the me on the left is at a conference in July 2013 and the me on the right (yes, with a guy dressed as Austin Powers) is at a conference this July 2014. Today I will end with telling you that this blog is going to be about so much more than weight loss and exercise and running – it is now about how I survive/d the fight with demons.

before after

running, losing weight, and body image

I am not ashamed of my body. I realize that according to societal standards, I’m supposed to be all ashamed of being fat (yes, I’m fat – I’m okay with that word, truly) and am supposed wear horrid clothes to hide my fat from public eyes, but I’m not there. Whether anyone agrees or not, I still equate myself with this song:

Okay, so why am I writing about this today? Partially because of a comment someone said to me – something to the effect of “it’s so great you’re running so you can lose weight” or something similar. But, the fact of the matter is, that is not why I started running. I originally started running because first of all, someone told me I couldn’t run because I was obese and obese people don’t run races. Uh, whatever. The other reason is that I’ve never been a real athletic person and I thought this would be a good challenge for me. Then, it became pure mind over matter to see if someone who is obese could run herself healthy enough to run. Notice I didn’t say run herself skinny.

Of course, because I drastically changed the way I eat, and I am running a lot, I am losing weight. In the last handful of weeks, I’ve lost 15 pounds. That’s a lot actually. My clothes fit different – some are too big. And I am excited about this – because it means I am becoming healthier in some ways, but please know it’s not all about being some super skinny woman. In some ways, the fact that it is possible that I may lose a lot of weight and be a skinny woman scares me a little – I’ve been skinny in the past multiple times. And honestly, when I’m the tall, attractive, skinny woman, I’ve been a real bitch in the past. But, I’m much older and more mature now so I’m sure I wouldn’t be that way again (even though one of my largest tattoos was acquired because of said bitchness in past life – -and I do like tattoos…it’s a long story that doesn’t make me look like a real nice person).

So, here’s the conflict that stays with me all the time:  I’m a super proud in-your-face feminist who is happy with whom she is today and I’m also excited about becoming healthier BUT I really hope it’s not for some f’d up vain “you can’t be sexy unless you’re skinny” bullshit. I’m going to have to keep myself in check on this for sure. I don’t want to fall into societal standards about beauty ideals. But I do know that I want to be healthy enough to run a half-marathon within the year and finish a marathon AND Tough Mudder before I’m 40. Yes, a Tough Mudder. Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I will for sure get the Tough Mudder tattoo upon completion.

ANYWAY, I think it’s important for people to know that you CAN run while being obese, overweight, fat, curvy, or whatever adjective you would like to use here. And of course it’s perfectly acceptable to run because you want to or because you want to lose weight or because someone told you could not do it. Whatever the reason, it’s a good one. Part of the reason I write this blog is so others can learn from it – understand that there are difficulties involved, yes (no running shorts in your size for example), but overall, it’s worth it. Trust me.

so many changes

Now that I’ve been running for over a month or so, I finally see some changes. Some are good, some are bad – well, not bad, but rather, challenging. For example, I LOVE dying my hair and changing it constantly. In fact, it’s kinda my thing. My guess is that I go through at least 10 to 15 hair color changes every year. One of the things I like to do with changing my hair is to have crazy colors or vivid or different colors. Except here’s the challenge (and a hair color lesson for you): bright, vivid color fades very quickly. Especially red – which is the color I most recently had. The less you wash your hair, the longer it lasts. But even if it gets wet, without shampooing, it still fades out.

So, when you run every day and then start adding in more workouts or runs in the same day, you take a lot of showers. In the last two weeks, my hair faded out at least 6 shades and that’s with me redoing it while at my mom’s last week. Ugh. So frustrating. But I’m in love with running and how I feel from it so I did what any responsible rockstar unicorn would do, I dyed it somewhat close to my natural hair color and now it’s all normal. Boo. I think in a couple of weeks I’ll add in highlights or something, but for now, it’s just brown – but at least it’s not running down my shower drain anymore. 🙂

So what are the good changes? Well, because I’ve completely changed my eating lifestyle and now exercise and run a lot, I’ve lost weight and my clothes don’t fit anymore. Again, awesome, but challenging. Sadly, “go out and buy all new clothes” is not in my current budget and plus, at this rate, I wouldn’t be wearing them for very long before they, too, would not fit. And it’s not just a weight issue – I see physical changes too – if you would’ve been in my colleagues’ office this morning, you would’ve witnessed me showing off my newly sculpted calf muscles. LOL

The reason I’ve been running so much more is twofold: one, adding in my son’s training schedule for the 5K he and I are doing next month is causing me to work out in the evenings and in the morning (when I run with Dave). Two, you know, I gotta admit – I’m a little addicted to running. And the feeling it gives me. So even when I tell myself I’m going to take a day off, by 5pm, I’m antsy and twitchy and just want to get outside and run and so, I do. It’s crazy and I love it.

That’s it for today – time for me to go do something to control the antsy urge to go run – I ran this morning but still want to go tonight; however, I’m a smart cookie who knows better than to run in a 112 degree heat index when I’m already wore out. 🙂

you know, for a fat girl…

Let’s talk about fat. I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last few days, primarily because I’m losing weight – which is awesome – but I feel weird about it. I feel weird because I’m majorly dedicated to it now, more so than I think I have been before; but it’s not the “losing weight” that I’m obsessed with. It’s the ability to be able to go out and run and feel healthy. I love that. I love the feeling of being the person who can get up and run and make her life better every day. That’s the amazing part.

At least that’s what I tell myself every day. Until some messed up bullshit happens (which frequently happens).

The bullshit takes many different forms – for example, in taking a photo of myself or seeing myself in the mirror in the morning before I go out on that run and honestly, truly, wanting to throw up. That’s right, physically ill over my own appearance. Every day. I cannot feel that way about myself and then try to play it off as “I’m doing this just to be healthy” and not because I’m trying to be thin. skinny. pretty. acceptable. wanted. needed. looked-at. happy. loved. respected.

I’m pretty good at performance. I think the performativity of my day is largely successful – performativity of how awesome I am and how great everything is and how everything is fan-freaking-tastic – which honestly for the most part, it is – but let me tell you a (not)secret:  self-esteem is not something I max out on every day – I’m just REAL good at faking it. I’m so good at it that in the last week or so, I’ve been told that I’m vain by four different people. But you know what? Every time you compliment me on my hair, dress, shoes, face, whatever, I end your compliment with “you know, for a fat girl.” Fucked up, yes? Yes, because I’m knocking down your compliment and insulting myself and others for being fat. Sigh.

So now that confession hour is over let’s talk about how this gets real messy – I’m a pretty staunch feminist. I will debate/discuss with you for hours about equality and how we need to fight societal bullshit. And I have amazing, intellectual conversations with my feminist friends about societal norms and guess what? My stupid lack-of-love-for-myself comes up and we talk and analyze and evaluate and work on moving forward. A very recent conversation included this amazing quote:

“We’ve so internalized ridiculous beauty norms (even though we know they are rigid, sexist, and racist ideals that leave no room for disabled bodies or aging bodies or the wide range of real women’s bodies, etc.) that we believe we are not attractive. But reading your words makes me realize that a central…goal [of mine] is to reject beauty norms and accept myself as beautiful just the way I am. I want all of my motivation to come from a place of wanting to be healthy and love myself UNconditionally.”

Amazing, right? Conversations like that, friends who support me so amazingly help me realize that if I take a step out of my own head and look at this intellectually and in a broader sense, I know I can do this. And here, I mean “this” as in, commit to myself that I CAN and WILL love myself enough to not want to throw up after looking in the mirror in the morning. Now, can I just wake up tomorrow and have all this change, poof, just like that? Unfortunately, no. It’s got to be one day at a time – hence the whole living through the journey thing.

I truly pride myself on being me – and just me – I love accomplishing the amazing things I’ve been a part of lately while still being me. I have remained just me and that is awesome and everything, but what frustrates me the most is how I can go through all of this every single day and have that stupid f’n underlying issue. Well, okay, there may be more than one issue (I mean, damn, you can’t write a blog about a journey and change with just one issue LOL). The other frustration lies in the fact that I HATE SOCIETAL NORMS and yet here I am, measuring myself up against some damn bullshit. Ugh.

Oh, and yes, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m fully aware that I’m dumping out my soul on this damn public blog where you all can read it. And I know you may be wondering if it’s too much unveiling, TMI, admission/confession, whatever – but damnit, I’ve sought for years to find someone who understands the world as I do and someone who struggles the way I do and for someone who let’s me know it’s all going to be alright and it took me a long, long time to find people like that. So I can only hope that someone who is searching for the same will find this blog and maybe, just maybe, I can help her. And for those of you whom I know, maybe I’ll see you some day and you’ll look at me and understand me a little more. Or not. Who knows?

But here’s the deal folks:  every day we each get a little better. every day we each take another step towards being that person we want to become – the one we already are but haven’t realized it yet. And that’s where I am – just starting this crazy journey where I’m unpacking years worth of shit that I can only imagine how it got there – but I’ll figure it out. I’m pretty intelligent, resilient, and resourceful. Well, you know, for a fat girl. A fabulously amazingly fat girl. 🙂