Sunday, October 27, 2013

It came to me in a dream...Jillian Michaels that is

I know, I know, long time, no see (well, I guess "no write" would be more appropriate). Things have been crazy busy this month. I haven't been able to have my normal routine a lot of days, and now that I finally am able to go back to normal, I'm finding it more difficult than usual. Vacation last week was like a free-for-all food-wise. It was whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. And let me tell you, my stomach did not seem to appreciate that one bit. Exercise has been a struggle too. I'm making it to the gym, but now that it's getting so cold outside, it seems to be much easier to stay snuggled in my warm bed than get up at the crack of dawn and go running out in the frozen tundra (okay, not really that cold, but cold enough for me!).

I keep asking myself, "What are you doing?!?" I tell myself to get it together, but I just can't seem to do it. And knowing I'm not doing what I should be doing has made me feel kind of down. However, maybe this morning was a turning point. This is going to sound really random and maybe you'll think I'm crazy for putting stock in a dream. But whatever, it was a really vivid and awesome dream. So in this dream, I was working out with Jillian Michaels (hence the awesome part) and some other random people that I have no idea who they are. But in the dream, like in life right now, I just wasn't feeling it (which sucks, because I always thought if I got to work out with Jillian, I would totally try to kill it). Jillian could tell something was wrong and took me aside. And then I spilled to her everything that was going on (which also is really going on in my life). She said I needed to remember why I was doing this. That it's about more than a number on the scale. She also said that just because I've had some set-backs does not mean that I am a failure. The important thing is that I get back up again. I think there was also some profanity sprinkled in there. Then we hugged, and because my dreams are apparently quite true to life (at least from what I've seen of Jillian), she told me to get my ass back to the gym. I'm sad that that is where the dream ended and I didn't get to find out if I did awesome after that talk.

I woke up then, and weirdly enough, it was 5 AM on the nose, the time I usually go running in the morning. I hadn't set my alarm or anything! So I looked at the clock and feel back asleep. Haha, just kidding! How could I do that after a dream like that? I got up and ventured out into the frozen tundra. Hey, motivation comes in all forms, even in the form of a personal trainer you have only seen in real life one time. And you know what? I already feel better and more like myself. I think I was feeling down because I felt like things were out of control. But things only felt out of control because I was allowing myself to let them be that way. I could choose to take control back at any time. It doesn't have to be a downward spiral back to where I started. So I choose to take control back today.

A key thing that Jillian asks her Biggest Loser contestants is what is their powerful "why"? What is their motivation for eating healthy and exercising? It can never just be "I want to lose 100 lbs" or "I want to wear a bikini". Those kinds of motivations are all well and good, but they are probably not going to get you out of the bed everyday to run on the frozen tundra (can you all tell I am not a fan of the weather lately?). And I think that lately I have gotten too focused on my motivation being that I wanted to lose my last 40 lbs. So when the weight wasn't coming off like it should, my motivation seemed to disappear. That's a prime example of why your primary motivation shouldn't be weight-centered.

It was so easy to be motivated in the beginning. I felt so bad physically and mentally then that I was willing to go through anything to get the weight off. I saw the physical and mental results of my efforts almost every week. So it was easy to keep going, easy to make the necessary sacrifices. But 160 lbs later, I don't see a change every week. The changes come much more slowly. When I look in the mirror now, I don't see a disgusting blob (sorry, but it's how I viewed myself before). And while that's great for my self-esteem to think I look okay now, it becomes much more easy to be complacent. The truth is that while I still need to lose some weight, I look and feel like a pretty normal person now. So I don't feel that desperate need to lose weight so I don't have to worry about stares from other people or getting winded after climbing one flight of stairs.

So what is my motivation now? The main one is that I eat healthy and exercise because it makes me happy and makes me feel like my best self (wow, that sounded like an Oprah thing to say). No, maybe sometimes in the moment (like at 5 AM), I may not be particularly happy to make the healthy choice. But overall, making those choices DOES make me happy. And while losing the actual pounds does contribute to my happiness, it is knowing that I am doing the right thing for my body and mind that really makes me happy. When I don't make the right choice, it definitely affects my mood. I also want to finish what I started. It is almost like a matter of character to me. I think the real measure of a man (or woman) lies in what they do when things get hard. Do they just give up or do they try harder than ever to accomplish their goals? In the past, I have given up. But that is not the person that I am now, that is not the person that I have striven to become. I set a goal for myself 16 months ago, and I refuse to let myself slack off anymore right before the finish line.

I feel like I am in a much better place (metaphorically, of course) this morning than I have been lately. So thanks to dream Jillian Michaels! And also, I guess thanks to my own subconscious! I'm not sure what it says about me that my subconscious apparently decided I needed a come-to-Jesus talk in the form of Jillian Michaels, but hey, whatever works!

Motto for today:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just how much does a small adult male hippo weigh?

The other day I got to talking with somebody who I just recently met about weight loss. She didn't know how much weight I had lost, and when I told her, she said, "Wow, you would never know you used to be bigger!" That brought up several feelings for me. Probably the first feeling would be disbelief because I feel like I have a gigantic amount of skin (sorry for the mental images). I HATE THE SKIN!  Most of it I can hide except for my arms, but it still doesn't make it any easier when I catch a glimpse of myself before getting in the shower.

But then there was also the feeling of a statement like that just being kind of surreal. I feel like my weight has defined me, or more accurately I have allowed it to define me, for my entire life. Until recently, it has always been in a negative way. But even now, I'm still defined by my weight to some extent. Except now I'm the girl who's lost an entire small adult male human instead of the girl who weighs as much as much as a small male adult hippopotamus (full disclosure, I have no idea how much an a small adult male hippo weighs). It's just odd to think that if I chose not to share, a stranger looking at me today would apparently never know about this struggle that has played such a huge part of my life.  Is that good or bad? Maybe some of each. It's just weird to think about. I wonder if I will ever come to the point where my weight loss will be just a casual thing mentioned every now and then in conversation. I kind of doubt it, mainly because I am really passionate about trying to help other people lose the weight too. So I don't ever want to forget how it felt to be bigger and how much work it took to lose the weight. I never want it to be just a casual thing that I did a few years ago.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Part of my brain missed the memo that said life wasn't a Nicholas Sparks movie

Today was my weekly weigh in day for my Facebook weight loss support group and I had one friend weigh in and say that she had been having some setbacks lately. I responded that I was really proud of her for posting anyway because it is so tempting sometimes to only post during the good weeks. It takes real strength of character to post during the not-so-great weeks as well. So I decided I needed to share something on here that I have been struggling with so I would not feel like a hypocrite, even if the only one who would know I was being a hypocrite was me.

It's not relating to my weight loss, at least not directly. That, thank goodness, seems to be back on track. I've got everything well under control again and my motivation has returned. This is about my foray into Eharmony. And I feel like that area of my life very much does indirectly relate to my weight loss. For more background on me starting that little venture, see here. As you've heard before, I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. This was definitely out of my comfort zone. And even though I knew better, I had a little fantasy all nicely lined out in my head before I started. It was like a movie, maybe one of those inspirational/corny Nicholas Sparks movies. Girl loses massive amount of weight, starts online dating, meets her soulmate who instantly falls in love with her (while gazing in her eyes preferably on a beach at sunset of course), gets married, has 2.2 (I'm not sure how the 0.2 happened) children together, and lives happily ever after. Okay, maybe I'm not quite  that much of a sap, but I couldn't help but have ideas in my head. I'm fairly certain most people probably do on those sites, whether they admit it or not.

So I went into this dating thing feeling pretty good. The confidence level was pretty high. But the truth is that it hasn't worked out quite like I had hoped. Sorry kids, it's not all roses and beaches at sunset up in here. Have I had some success? Yes, I have, but nothing has really seemed to work out so far. But it's the rejections that are leaving far more of an impression. Here's the thing: rationally, I knew that it is completely crazy to think that everyone that checks out your profile will like you. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. It just means it wasn't the right fit. Rationally, logically, I know that. Emotionally, it's a lot more complicated. Every time I see one of those rejections, it's like a personalized message that says You're still not good enough. It feels like one of my worst fears come true sometimes. You see, when I was at my heaviest, men were not attracted to me. It's just a fact. But I told myself that it wasn't me  they didn't like, it was just my weight. And my weight was something I could theoretically change, even though I was obviously having a hard time actually doing that. But the little fear in the back of my mind was what if I lost weight and still nobody wanted me? That would mean something was wrong with me, something that I couldn't change. So every time I get rejected, it feels like that fear is coming true. I mean, while I'm still not thin, I'm pretty average sized now so that shouldn't be an issue. So late at night when those crazy little thoughts creep in right before I go to sleep, I think that I will never be good enough and that nobody will ever want me. That I will always be alone. That who could ever love someone like me? And then I kind of hate myself for thinking things like that because thoughts like those are self-pitying and morose, and the person I have made myself into, the person I have worked my butt off (literally) to become, is not either of those things. It's just killing my confidence, and my confidence is this area was pretty much zero to start out with.

So what to do, what to do? I honestly do not know. I'm signed up for a year, so I've still got 10 months of membership left. All I know is that I do not want to give up. If this past year has taught me anything, it is that you have to face your fears and problems, not run away from them and pretend they don't exist. So I feel like I need to keep on truckin' (so to speak) with this, but find a way to deal with the rejections a bit better.

This post was very personal for me and hard to write, to be honest. It's hard to put something like this out there for the world (well, the blog world) to see and judge. But you know what? I don't think anything anyone else could say could be meaner than some of the things I say to myself, as you've seen above. It felt good to get this off my chest. Also, I think it's a good illustration of how losing weight is about far more than just the physical weight. As you can see, there is a lot of emotional weight that goes along with it too, and I am definitely still working on losing that too. It would be so nice if life worked out like a movie. If it did, I might be sitting on that beach I mentioned before with someone else. There would probably be a full orchestra in the background discreetly playing an appropriate theme song. But you know what? A perfect life like that wouldn't provide nearly as much material for this blog.