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Bringing Your Body Into Balance

My 100+ pound weight loss is what grabs people's attention. However, my weight loss was merely a side effect of finally taking my health and happiness into my own hands and finding that perfect balance. Body, mind, spirit. It all matters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100 Pounds Gone Forever!

Post from 08/31/11:

I can't believe it! It almost seems like it's not real and I'll wake up tomorrow back in the old fat suit that I've lugged around more years than not in this life.

When I look back over these 100 pounds, I realize how losing each pound has shaped me in ways I could've never imagined today. With every pound of fat that I worked to eliminate came new insight into how my body works. Each pound I lost made me feel a little lighter and a little more free. Every time I saw a loss, I felt a gain in my self-esteem, self-worth and overall ability to tackle whatever may come my way.

This last Sunday was one of those landmark moments. I ran 1.5 miles on the Boone Fork Trail. No longer weighed down by a heavy, slow body, I felt like I was sailing with ease over the land, like a graceful.....hmmm, like some kind of graceful animal. lol I jumped over creeks and zigzagged over rocks, never stopping, hardly ever slowing. And when that old familiar burning started in my lungs and my body, I begrudgingly slowed to a fast walk. But how far I had come from the little fat girl who LITERALLY COULD NOT RUN!!! Past the woman who would try to run for 60 seconds without stopping but had trouble with those last 15 seconds. And now to this confident woman who, when she saw a large fallen tree in her path, sped up and lept across it and then disappeared quickly down the trail without ever looking back.

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I don't need the praise from friends and family (don't NEED, but still LIKE), or the admiring looks from men (although they are nice too, I'm not gonna lie), all I need is this feeling right now, the feeling I've never had in my entire 32 years on this earth, pride in myself and comfort in my own skin.

And to think I'm not even done yet. I can't wait to see what's in store for me next in this exciting journey of self-discovery.

What I Have Control Over....

Post from 07/08/11:

In the past, when something went wrong, I had a tendency to throw my hands up and declare "WHAT'S THE USE?!" This would generally be followed by eating whatever I wanted and laying around feeling sorry for myself.

This process did not get me very far the first 30 odd years of my life so I've developed a new process. Now, when something goes wrong that I have no control over, I make a list of everything I DO have control over. Then I start ticking off items on that list.

Here's a "for instance": I currently have an infected tooth. I'm taking antibiotics which is screwing up my stomach and can't work out without my mouth completely throbbing. So here's the list I made:

I don't have control over:
The infected tooth

I DO have control over:
flossing and rinsing my mouth w/ warm salt water
lots of rest
eating antioxidants to help my body to heal

I don't have control over:
What the antibiotics are doing to my stomach

I DO have control over:
eating more fiber
drinking more water
taking probiotics
eating a clean diet free of sugar (which constipates)

I don't have control over:
not being able to workout

I DO have control over:
making sure I adjust my calorie intake accordingly
using this time to learn about & plan new exercise routines & psyche myself up to start them soon
doing lots of deep stretching to reduce the amount of tightness I'm feeling
closely monitering my protien intake (and frequency) to avoid muscle loss


These kinds of lists make me feel so much more in control of my life and I find myself more & more doing things I DO have control over without even making a list when stressful things happen to me. One of my go to "things I have control over" items is working out. No matter what crappy thing is going on in my life I know that I can (most of the time) get in a good workout and feel INSTANTLY better about the situation. This is sooo different from how it used to be. In fact, it's opposite. In the past, a horrible day would've been the perfect excuse to NOT work out. Now I realize that a horrible day is the EXACT REASON why I MUST work out.

Other than just feeling mentally and often physically better, staying in control helps prevent emotional eating which is HUGE for me. I finally feel free from this life long affliction and I sincerely believe this is a big reason for it.

To Answer the Question of "Do You Have Loose Skin?"


After losing almost half of my body weight, I have received a ton of questions. Too many to answer a lot of times so I'm sorry if you've asked a question and never received an answer. However, I've tried to answer all the ones that I can. Perhaps the most frequent question I receive is if I have any loose skin and, if not, how did I manage that when I was so heavy for so long. Well, this is a complicated answer so here's my "loose skin" story....


When I hit the 75/85 pound loss area, I had a loooot of loose skin starting to appear. It was actually really disheartening in the beginning. However, I did some research that changed my mentality. I read up on all the loose skin theories and looked at lots of surgeries to remove this "loose skin". I found plenty of people telling me it was hopeless that surgery was the one and only answer. However, in the middle of pages and pages of hopelessness I found this guy www.bodyfatguide.com/LooseSkin.htm . Now, let me say, I don't know this dude from Adam. He could be a flaming idiot for all I know. BUT, when I read this, it made perfect sense to me and those are the things in life that I tend to believe. So maybe I believed it because I wanted to believe it?....maybe....but every day my results support the validity of it.


Basically, he says that people have loose skin after weight loss because they, often, don't lose enough. My previous research in "skin removal" surgery supported this notion. I noticed (before finding this dude's page) that all the people getting the surgery were still overweight!!! And their "after" pictures shown without a shadow of a doubt that they were having more than skin removed. It made perfect sense to me! There's still enough fat when you lose down from obese to overweight that it weighs down the skin and prevents it from tightening back up. As he points out, skin is paper thin, not big thick folds...that's skin with fat under it. I know this because I could (and still can) grab the bottom of my stomach and feel the lumpy fat still luking inside of there.


So I kept on losing. And I'm still losing. The closer I get to my ideal body fat percent the less loose skin I have. Notice I said ideal body fat percent and not ideal weight. This is because you can't depend on the number on the scale when you get close to your goal. I am 151 and fairly firm. I know other women who are my same body type & height and mushy at 151. Muscle is everything at this point. And the more you have, the better you will look. Not only because it reshapes your body & boosts your metabolism but also because it helps fill in that loose skin.


My skin now is not perfect but it's looking better and better with every pound I lose. However, when I FIRST lose a little more, my skin will be a little saggy for a few days but then it will start tightening up a bit.



Here's some other things I do that have helped firm up my skin:
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Eat healthy fats 
  • Eat fruits and veggies!!! Let me just say that, more and more as time goes on, the biggest difference I see in the elasticity of my skin is when I don't eat enough fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Moisturize with a seed oil based moisturizer (because I've read that's the best absorbed by your skin)
  • EXFOLIATE! Every day!!
  • If you love to be tan (like I do), use more self-tanner and tan less because tanning makes your skin lose elasticity BIG TIME!


Is my skin perfect? No. Will it ever be? No. I've been obese most of my life and was pregnant at 30 (and topped out at 299 pounds before giving birth). I have stretch marks, cellulite and not the tighest skin ever. BUT, with every pound I lose, I am shocked with just how much better my skin looks! My stretch marks are fading (and shrinking!), my cellulite is slowly disappearing and my skin is already tighter than I thought it would ever be and I know it will just keep getting better from here. So now the not so happy news....the one area where my improvement is extremely slow and still very disheartening is in my breasts. I guess for the exact reason that guy gave. There is still something (although not much these days, lol) weighing the skin down and not allowing it to pull back up. I'm hopeful that they will catch up (pun intended) with the rest of my skin but, even if they don't, they aren't horrible or anything even now. Everything else I feel I can (and will) fix naturally with a little more weight loss.


So, as you can see, the answer to the question of "did/do you have loose skin after so much weight loss" is "yes and no....but more 'no' everday!"

Update: I am now 145 pounds and have added more muscle mass. The girls are lookin good ya'll! They definitely aren't those of a hard bodied 20 year old but I am happy enough with them that I don't think I'll get surgery after all...probably not, I'll keep ya posted...

My tummy has also came a LONG WAY! Its a litle not-so-firm around the belly button and at the very bottom still but its so slight at this point that it doesn't even bother me at all, I feel pretty confident (well, most days anyway). I can even pull off a two piece if I'm well hydrated, moisturized and brown! And I'm not even done yet!!! I have all but decided that my previous theory (not that it was just mine) was correct. I am pretty positive that in the very near future my belly will be smooth and taute! And, when that day comes, I'll post pics to prove it!!!

1st Image Provided by http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664
2nd image provided by http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=879

149 Pounds vs. 275 Pounds

Post from 10/21/11 (I was down 126 pounds at the time):

For some reason, 149 pounds has been my magic number (ever since 199 stopped being my magic number). Something about being closer to 100 than 200 just makes me feel more feminine and dainty. lol

So, this morning, having finally hit this magic number, I have been pondering how being 149 feels so so different from being 275.

At 275, I was exhausted and spent my life doing the bare minimum.

At 149, I am (most days) bursting with energy and almost always up for a challenge.

At 275, I didn't want to go out and socialize, I didn't want to run into anyone I knew.

At 149, I love to go out and meet new people and love the prospect of running into old friends I haven't seen in a while.

At 275, I ate "naughty" foods in the privacy of my own home because I didn't want anyone to see the fat girl eating the stuff that made her so fat.

At 149, I would rather split a sinful dessert with a good friend in a nice cafe and make lots of "num num num" noises while I do it.

At 275, I tried to find the brightest, loudest prints to hide my weight. I tried not to notice the 2X on the tag as I pulled my overpriced plus sized shirt over my head and I often left the house feeling sloppy and horrible about myself in whatever I wore.

At 149, I open my closet and see all the cute, stylish WAY CHEAPER sz small & medium clothes hanging there and just can't decide what look I wanna have that day. I often leave the house feeling confident and pulled together.

At 275, I was finally able to put myself to sleep at night by fantasizing about the slim, sexy me I would be someday, and I woke up the next morning and struggled for hours to get going. I spent the day trying (usually, unsuccessfully, to stick to my resolve of eating right).

At 149, I pass out (pretty early) at night from the exhaustion of my intense workout and a day packed full of productiveness, and I wake up the next morning at 4:30-5:30, hop out of bed and work out. I spend my day concious of how the good food I'm putting in my body is helping to make me a healthier and happier person. When i do eat something "not right", it's a concious decision and I enjoy every last morsel of it with little to no guilt.

At 275, I looked at people who had lost weight and thought, "if they can do it, so can I!"

At 149, I look at people who haven't yet lost weight and think, "if I can do it, so can they!"

At 275, the prospect of any of this was so far fetched, especially the working out at 4:30 am and WANTING TO DO IT! I was the snooze button queen! It is all a process. Every good habit I have incorporated into my life started out as a thought. I entertained that thought for a while before I made it an action. I fell off the wagon and backslid all the time (I still do). But the whole saying "Two steps forward, One step back" is so very true. I am POSITIVE that I will continue to make mistakes, lose motivation, maybe even gain a pound or two. But I have made my wellbeing one of the main priorities and focuses of my life and that's what makes the difference. "Energy flows where attention goes." If you are focusing on being miserable, on how much you want pizza,on how fat you are, etc. THAT'S what your brain will make sure continues to be your focus. If you focus, rather, on how much you want to be fit and healthy and you spend time educating yourself and keeping these notions on the forefront of your mind THOSE will be the things that your brain makes sure continues to be your focus.

Bottom line, I did not change because I lost weight, I lost weight because I changed.

Broken ToeAide

When life gives you broken toes....

....make...broken toeaide???....

I really do try to always be a "look on the bright side" kinda girl but I don't always succeed. And how do I keep being Polly-frickin-Anna when, when January keeps sucking harder and harder?

On January 3rd I helped my boyfriend of 2 years move up to his new apartment located over an hour away. It was a nasty cold day and, while I was excited for him to have this opportunity at a new, exciting life, I was sad for us because I knew it was the end of our relationship. We both knew but had been ignoring it for months. We were living in denial and holding on to every last second we had together.

But, on January 4th, we finally had no choice but to acknowledge it and I said goodbye to what I felt was my best, and almost, only friend at the time.

On January 6th I woke up with a horrible stomach virus. After puking my abs sore for a few hours, while taking care of my son, I then suffered severe nausea for a solid 8 days! But I did lose 3 pounds that hadn't been budging so, hello!, silver lining already!


On January 14th, I was starting to feel a little better for the first time in over a week and went out with friends that night. My ex and I got into a horrible argument (through text mostly-which my dad claims is the root of all evil nowadays) and it lasted into the wee hours of the morning, spilling over into the next day, January 15th, when I woke up to more arguing and a nasty cold.

On January 18th, which was the first day I woke up able to breath just a little, I was getting that new lease on life feeling. The one you get after a break up, a stomach virus and a cold when everything starts to look up. I had a little more of a spring in my step when I walked around my car that morning to warm it up only to notice my CDs laying beside my car along with some other stuff. I looked in my car to find that someone had gone through it in the middle of the night & left the inside trashed in the process. My mp3 player & pricy headphones were gone. Lesson learned, ALWAYS lock your car.

On January 22nd I realized my crazy attempt to be friends with my ex so soon after our emotional breakup was...well, crazy. That night I went full-on crazy ex-girlfriend mode. I completely lost it and told him to stop contacting me for a while. I went to sleep that night so sad and just feeling kind of empty but I woke up the next morning, the 23rd, feeling very different. I still missed him but I felt energized and happy to be single. My new lease on life had arrived and I was ready to embrace it! And that's exactly what I started doing....for the rest of the day....

Then the very next day, on January 24th, I woke up late. I was rushing around to get ready and I did something I have done at least 200 times in my life, I caught my pinky toe on the corner of the bathroom door as I was rushing out. But this time was different. First, I heard a loud crack and thought I had broken the door. I winced in anticipation of the pain I knew was coming...but nothing. I looked down and that's when I saw something that still makes me feel a little barfy when I recall it. I was wearing black stockings so I couldn't actually see my foot but I saw what appeared to be a small toe growing out the side of my foot. I looked on my other foot just to make sure that's not what my feet had always looked like and I'd somehow never noticed....definitely not. I calmly said, "I broke my toe. I broke my toe,' staring at my foot with curiousity like it wasn't even my own.

So, after learning the hard way what "setting a bone" means and forking out a small fortune from my very limited savings, I hobbled home on crutches feelings extremely sorry for myself. I spent a large portion of the afternoon crying uncontrollably, focused on just how much my life was sucking and wondering how much worse it could get. Then....the silver lining started happening. My family, first and foremost, was there for me in every way. Everything was taken care of, I basically just had to use the bathroom for myself and that was about it. And, in addition to that, my phone was blowing up! I had so many offers for help and so many more people just calling or texting (or both) to check on me or just to make sure I wasn't sad and needing someone to talk to. When just a few days before I had felt so alone from my breakup, here I was feeling so surrounded by people who loved and cared about me.

After struggling to get my son to bed, because he kept insisting that it was HIS toe that was hurting and needed sympathy LMAO!, I hobbled out in the living room feeling exhausted but like supermom to still have managed to take care of my son with one leg (metaphorically) tied behind my back. I sat down in the silence and my mind started to race. I was still dwelling so much on how this ailment was going to hurt my workout regimen when it hit me! THAT is exactly why this happened! I had become so completely focused on my workouts and trying to attain the perfect body that I had all but stopped focusing on other areas of development, like my spiritual development for instance. I recalled what I had heard just the day before when listening to "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (which I HIGHLY recommend!). He said that often people become so fixated on one "self" they wish to develop that they forget to nurture their other "selves" and that we should make a list of all those "selves" so we remember to pay attention to them all. When I heard it at the time I thought, "hmm, interesting," then all but forgot about it after that, actually on my way to the gym at the time for my second workout that day. Well, I guess the universe decided to send me the message again in a more direct, mob-like fashion this time, in the form of a broken bone. Okay! Okay! I get it! Message received loud and clear!

So here's my list of selves I never wish to neglect again:
  • Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, etc.
  • Friend
  • Student (of life, eternally, not just academically)
  • Spiritual
  • Athelete (developing my body, inside and out, to be the toughest, most beautiful vessel it can be for the rest of my life)
  • Citizen of the World (giving of myself to others)

So my top 10 list of reasons I'm glad I broke my toe:

1-I've realized just how many people love and care about me.
2-I've realized what people DON'T care and its helped me stop wasting emotional energy on them. I'm giving it to myself and/or the people who better deserve it.
3-Its helped me appreciate just what good of shape I'm in because it takes endurance to hop around on one leg for long periods of time or support your weight with your upper body for long periods of time.
4-I've upped my fruit and veggie intake for the antioxidants that my body needs to heal, so its improved my nutrition.
5-It's forced me to find alternative ways to workout so I'm developing different muscles in different ways.
6-I have never gotten to TRULY appreciate NOT having a broken toe but, in 4-6 weeks, I will get to appreciate it every day for the rest of my life!
7-I've relaxed and watched some great documentaries in the past 2 days which I've really enjoyed doing!
8-I'm getting over my fear (after already working out today & eating healthy) that an injury will turn me into a big fatty again
9-I'm working ahead on my homework assignments which is a HUGE stress reliever
10-I'm starting something I've wanted to for a very long time!!! This blog! Which contributes to some of my "selves" including my spiritual self because, as "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" along with a score of other books indicate, writing things out not only creates clarity, it makes a vision more concrete (writing also helps replace the need to be "heard" so you are less dependent on others for your own well-being). It nourishes my citizen of the world self because it gives me an opportunity to provide information in one location of everything I've done to improve my health so I can just give people links to my blogs when they ask me the "how did you," "how do I" type questions.

I've been saying since my break-up that the last chapter was great & I was excited for the new one to begin. And while I didn't expect or want it to begin with a broken anything, I'm excited to see what's next and how it will end.

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